When you make a disciple, that’s not the end of the story. That disciple then goes on to make other disciples, who go on to make other disciples. The domino effect is the multiplication of disciples.
So when you have a new believer, don’t remove them from their natural network of relationships (except in certain extreme circumstances). Instead, encourage them to live out the gospel within that community. They can begin making disciples right away– there’s no waiting period and they don’t have to know a lot of information. All they need to do is serve as a witness of their own encounter with God.
Disciples who help others become disciples can emerge as leaders in a movement. The key is to start with lost people, connect them with Jesus, and as they grow as fruitful disciples, develop them as leaders. They are leaders because they have won others to Christ and helped them grow. And these new disciples can also make more disciples– and that’s the start of a movement.
Remember that not all people who accept Christ will become fruitful disciples, but the ones who do will produce great fruitfulness, and return “thirty, sixty or even a hundred times” what was sown (Mark 4:8). This, then, is a 3,000%, 6,000% or 10,000% return! That’s really fruitful!
Note: This blog entry is part of a series based on Beyond Church Planting (coauthored with Neil Cole) that explores the process of evangelism and coming to faith.