This is a strategy for bringing in a great harvest among Muslims. Will it work here in the States?
Without intending to dilute the gospel, the traditional approach to evangelism sometimes settles for making converts, instead of Jesus’ final command to “make disciples . . . teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19–20).
- Go slow at first in order to go fast later. He chose disciple making as His strategy, the most time-consuming strategy that one could imagine.
- Focus on a few to win many. But Jesus gave almost all of His attention to intentionally discipling just twelve men, especially focusing on four of them.
- Engage an entire family or group, not just the individual. That’s why Discovery Bible Studies are designed in such a way that they almost always begin with a family or affinity group at the core. In that context, a whole group, rather than just an individual or two, become disciples of Jesus and are baptized together. And with that, a small church foundation is in place that will spread as the process is repeated in the next family.
- Share only when and where people are ready to hear. When engaging lostness, only invest time in people whom God has already prepared to bridge the gospel into their oikos: their family and community. Give them all the time needed, but if they do not respond to the gospel, then keep on looking for the right person.
- Start with creation, not with Christ. We all like shortcuts in communication. Unfortunately, Muslims need to start in Genesis to discover the true character of the Supreme God of the universe.
- It’s about discovering and obeying, not teaching and knowledge. But rather than simply telling them the answers, Jesus was patient and seemed quite content to let people process information, internalize it, and eventually understand for themselves what it required of their lives. Likewise, the process of group discovery of the Bible, group processing, and group accountability to obey God takes more time than teaching and preaching, but it yields remarkable transformation of whole families and communities when it is coupled with obedience.
- Disciple people to conversion, not vice versa. Christians around the world know that becoming a follower of Jesus requires repentance of sins and a verbal affirmation of faith in God and the sacrifice of Jesus’ blood for those sins. But Jesus’ example of making disciples takes a different approach: in fact, it works almost in the reverse. Jesus chose some ordinary men and had them walk with Him as He revealed truths of God and asked them to live their lives according to those values. Eventually, they began to do what He did, and they also began to experience God’s power and blessings in their own lives. Then they came to a point of understanding that a decision to become a follower of Jesus Christ would cost them everything. Eleven of them said yes, and they changed the world. This kind of discipleship model—one that begins with discipleship and moves toward the point of conversion—is how many Muslims are becoming Christ followers. Discipleship requires a daily choice to intentionally and consistently obey God’s will.
- Coach lost people from the beginning to discover and obey biblical truth. Can lost people actually read passages from the Bible, internalize the message, and agree together to obey God in whatever that passage shows them? Again, many of the Muslim peoples that you will meet in this book discovered God’s will and learned to collectively obey God in a group like that.
- Prepare to spend a long time making strong disciples, but anticipate miraculous accelerations. God is very strategic, but quite wonderfully unpredictable. When you turn people loose with a Bible to obey, you can’t predict what they might do when they discover that God answers prayer, or how extravagant God’s blessings can be on this kind of new faith. It is very hard to even keep track of the continuous flow of God’s dramatic blessings on communities of Muslims striving to discover and obey the God of the Bible.
- Expect the hardest places to yield the greatest results.