by Austin Maxheimer
Multiplying disciples is at the heart of helping people far from God experience Jesus. When people truly experience Jesus, he grabs hold of them and they have no choice but to follow him. Jesus is the most magnetic person of all time!
In our groups we need to be about the business of making disciples of Jesus Christ. I would like to take a look at some places in Acts where disciples of Christ were not merely added but multiplied in an explosive way, in order to encourage you to apply the principles to your group:
1. Stand with your group and proclaim the Gospel.
“So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls…” —Acts 2:41. Evangelism has gotten a bad rap because, unfortunately, it has often been about pronouncing judgment instead of proclaiming the Good News. Pentecost is famous for the day the Church was launched, but at the heart of it was a small group—“But Peter, standing with the eleven, lifted his voice and addressed them”—empowered by the Holy Spirit that led this movement. And it was accomplished by revealing Jesus Christ in the lives of those present.
2. Resurrect the Resurrection.
“But many of those who had heard the word believed, and the number of them came to about 5,000…” —Acts 4:4. The popular stance today is to deny that the resurrection of Jesus happened or to spiritualize the event. But the resurrection of Jesus transformed peoples’ lives in biblical times, and its historical veracity continues to create disciples to this day. Make the Resurrection a regular topic of discussion in your group. Equip your group to defend it against popular attacks and understand the importance of it in their lives.
3. Allow Christ to bring unity.
“And the word of God continued to increase, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly…” —Acts 6:7. There is a misunderstanding of what Life Groups are supposed to represent. They are not a circle of friends. If friendships are born out of them, that’s fantastic, but Life Groups are where we get to give Life to others through Jesus Christ. This is our witness to the world. Where division and enmity should be present, Jesus brings unity and love. In this story in Acts, these two groups didn’t just have a disagreement; they were polar opposites ethnically and economically. Yet the resolution of their differences, with Christ at the center, led to Kingdom multiplication.
4. Get uncomfortable, welcome persecution.
“And a great many people were added to the Lord…” —Acts 11:24. In the New Testament, Christ-followers are rarely called “Christians.” They are called by many other names, one of which is my favorite: Overcomers. The name “Overcomers” simply came out of the life situation they faced. They experienced tribulation, which literally means “crushing pressure.” Sometimes we forget that our experience in this world as Christians is a counter-cultural experience to the rest of the world. Even in our country where threat of physical persecution is extremely low, we nevertheless experience crushing pressure against our faith every single day, in ways that we don’t even know, which is why the Worldview is so important!
So this is my challenge to you, for the purpose of creating disciples:
Proclaim the Gospel, resurrect the Resurrection, bring unity through Christ, and get (at least) a little uncomfortable.
The Lord will add to our number daily those who are being saved.