Unfunded Project 001: Helping Christians be more effective at Disciple-making (first published in 2015)
1. Project description: To come alongside the global Church and build a set of discipleship tools that it can use to help it fulfill Christ’s Great Commission commandment.
1.1. This tool set will be both a mobile friendly technology platform (smart phones) and sample content that global churches/groups can use or modify to teach disciple making (Matthew 28:18-20 )to those who fit the qualifications of 2 Tim 2:2 with the end goal to see the fulfillment of Matt 24:14And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached throughout the whole inhabited earth as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come (NET)..
1.2. The targeted audience is all the people on the planet which means the content and the platform needs to support literate and non-literate means of communications and the project needs to work with other ministry partners who are already working in those areas of the world.
What do we mean by the term DiscipleshipThe term Discipleship is the model used by Jesus as He called His disciples and what He expected of them. The meaning of a “disciple of Christ,” is more fully described in appendix 3 and summarized here as one who has been called first to know Christ; then to follow him; and then to make disciples of all nations. That is, in our knowing Christ we are becoming like him—thinking, feeling, and living as he commands. In this spiritual ambience of a personal relationship with him, that is, in light of our experience of the kingdom, he summons us to be his disciples. We are to follow him, through thick and thin, knowing that he is there and that he will reward us in his time; after all, he is God incarnate. But discipleship not only involves being with him, being like him, and following him, it also means that we make it our goal to disciple others—indeed, every nation under the sun. The Great Commission is not just another good idea—though it is that—it is the church’s marching order. There is no other plan, No plan B. Matthew 28:18-20which includes Matt 24:14is the one and only plan.
· Point of contact for more information about the project: David Austin
· Background, Need and Projected Benefit: to the community of users
o The need:The church and Christians are falling behind in our ability to meet and fulfillthe Great Commissioncommandment from Christ. The Pew Research Center did a study and found that the number of Christians around the world has nearly quadrupled in the last 100 years, from about 600 million in 1910 to more than 2 billion in 2010. But the world’s overall population also has risen rapidly, from an estimated 1.8 billion in 1910 to 6.9 billion in 2010. As a result, Christians make up about the same portion of the world’s population today (32%) as they did a century ago (35%). So unlike the first century church where experts say Christianity experienced a growth rate of about 40%/decade we are now seeing Christianity just keeping up with population growth worldwide. We need to pray that we take things out of our schedule to focus on seeing the world reached for Christ.
o The Benefit- What would happen if this changed and all Christians in churches did the Matt 28:19-20 plan?
§ What is a sample plan has the Holy Spirit use in the 21st century to support the exponential growth that was demonstrated in the 1st century? (watch this short 4 min video for one answer http://youtu.be/2jrok2GE8I8 )
Facts to consider:
● If we are to be obedient to the commandment we must come to grip with the growing world’s population. There are 7.125 billion people on earth now with a projected rise to 11b in 2100 with an illiteracy rate of 12% or 775m illiterate. Therefore, it is critical that we plan and produce ministry tools to fit not only the literate but the non-literate.
● How can we affordably reach them? The answer lies in harnessing the tools of the Internet and Mobile as an aid to those doing outreach. Internet world stats show that 3 billion or 42% have internet access andin 2014, the number of worldwide mobile users will reach over 5.6 billion. By the end of 2018, the number is expected to increase to over 6.2 billion or about 84% of the world.
● With thousands of discipleship books and programs in the marketplace why is the Church not having greater success in making disciples? One reason is as we read in John 3:19, people love the darkness rather than the Light of God, and perhaps the following changes need to be incorporated (in parentheses below) into the proposed church discipleship tools project
o Needs a focus on Fervent Prayeras we said above people love darkness rather than light and we are attacking the Devil’s domain. It is an overwhelming task and we can only do it through the power of the Holy Spirit working through Christians and leading others to Christ (technology isn’t the answer, it’s a heart problem and Obedience to Christ is the answer).
o (It needs to be action oriented)The bulk of discipleship material is based on the transfer of information from an expert to the student and not on apprenticeship or “doing it”, which was Christ’s model.
o (It needs to be Bible focused and not an expert at the head of the class telling people “what to think” but teaching them “how to think biblically”)The focus will be less on answering questions the students don’t have but more on learning on how to find the answer to the questions they do have. It must utilize the Bible trusting confidentially that God has the answers. It means learning patience to wait on the Lord for answers as not all the student’s questions will have quick answers. With the Bible as the focus and central authority, wenot only can but will expect the Holy Spirit to teach a person “How to think biblically” (which is His job). We expect that they will interact and be subject to their local church but that we will need to supply coaches to be available to the group to answer questions or to get the answers for them and suggest next areas to study based on their questions.
o (It needs to set the expectations up front to see if the people will put Christ as the first priority in their lives)The Bible tells us that Christ challenged His disciples to a transformed life. This meant a life change process to make choices that would lead them to live their Christian life much differently than what they were doing. He set the bar high to see if they would change their priorities and put Him first. We recall that some chose to trust, obey and followed. Others said “this is a hard saying, who can understand it.” Still others chose to “quit following and not accompany him anymore.” The 12 who did stay found that was not an easy thing to just add one more thing to their schedule. But, Christ demanded then and demands now that He be first place in our lives. He challenged them by saying things like: to be my disciple you need to “take up your cross;” or as to the rich man “sell all you have and give to the poor.” To the man who had his family first he said “let the dead bury the dead”. Peter reminds us in 1 Pet 4:12-13 that the Christian should expect suffering for the cause of Christ. Suffering is to be considered as joy (James 1:2). Yet not all is suffering! Jesus gave his promise in Matt 11:28-30 that in following Him we can find rest:“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke on you and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and my load is not hard to carry.”(NET)
o (It needs to be group based)Christ’s discipleship training happened in a small group-- less on one to one. The group is important for the discussion of the teaching, mutual accountability practice and exercise of spiritual gifts for the benefit of the group. Paul taught in 1 Cor 12 that this is the role of the church utilizing the gifts from the Spirit. Note: v7 it says:“To each person the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the benefit of all.” This is a key teaching, we believe, that discipleship should take place in a group/church setting so the gifts of the group can be brought to bear in the Great commission commandment of discipleship, and teaching the all things that Christ taught them.(NET).
The question we all need to ask ourselves is what are we going to do different to make disciples and reach the world for Christ, or as we read in the Pew study, do we continue to do the same thing we have done for the last 100 years? Perhaps Einstein said it best: If we want something we have never had, we must be willing to do something we have never done.
What is the something different in your ministry or Church?
For Bible.org a couple big things stand out. We are now primarily targeted at the literate world that is on the internet. But if we are to assist the whole church in the great commission we need to partner with those whose focus is in non-literate ministry and work on oral storying and develop a set of tools that fit in a framework that any ministry or church can add content to which is both internet accessible and mobile friendly. To finish the great commission it should be effective where there is internet as well as areas with no internet connectivity (using SD memory cards as they support audio/video).
As we look for partners we will be asking you to assist us in looking at our mutual list of different things we need to do and those we need to do differently. We are asking this question: What can we together offer the local church and others in the body of Christ? A first step is that it begins with prayer. What others would you add?
● Other items for you to fill in below
How do we get started and how do those who are interested in helping in the proposed Church Discipleship project get more information?
Phase 0.1 Bible.org is proposing the following:
1. Rapidly build a little and use a little
1.1. This will allow us to test the concept on real users and provide early feedback from those users to build on the framework and content requirements
1.2. Select the methodology that incorporates the characteristics needed in the approach described above To review: (It needs to be action oriented), (Bible focused and not an expert at the head of the class teaching how to think biblically), (It needs to be group based), (It needs to set the expectations up front to see if the people will put Christ as first priority in their lives) due 6/1/15 (draft completed)
1.1.1. Bible.org reviewed many approaches and talked with various ministries about what the Holy Spirit was blessing by exponential growth in closed Muslim countries where freedoms of movement are limited and Christians are at risk and decided to base our initial course on the Bible Discovery Method as was presented in the previous 4 min video http://youtu.be/2jrok2GE8I8 you watch above.
1.2. Select 2 churches to pilot a 6 week course and a leadership module due 7/1/15 (completed)
At this point you may be asking what does this look like? We have started a pilot project with the expectations that funding will come to expand the staff to continue and to work with other ministries. IF you want more information email us