Make Disciples that Make Disciples

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When I was 21 I did a 6 month discipleship training school with a Christian missions organization called YWAM. I did three months of intense training in Kona, Hawaii and then three months of outreach in India. I had the opportunity to hear from some of the most incredible leaders and teachers in the world and their lessons are still deeply imprinted on my heart. 

One of the teachers was Jaeson Ma. He taught us about the underground church in China and why and how it is growing at such an incredible rate. In China, when a new believer meets Jesus they simply turn around and tell someone else. Then they do the same. They create disciples that create disciples that create disciples. Then one of them gets appointed as the leader. When the group gets too large for the meeting space (usually a crowded tiny basement) they split and appoint another leader. Sounds super basic, right? 

We know this same principle here in the West, but our growth isn't at the same rate as China. I'm sure there are many reasons for this. Jaeson pointed out one mind-blowing one that has stuck with me. 

When a new believer meets Jesus here in the West, they are pumped. Naturally, the fresh fire is burning hot within them. They have big plans and ideas on how to take ground for the Kingdom of God. Then we, as a church (and hear me, I know this is a major generalization and not everyone does this) heap a load of books on their shoulders, remind them that they are still in process and must focus on their healing, and then encourage them to go to seminary before they will truly be ready to lead others to Jesus in the big ways they are dreaming of. We sure know how to put out fires. 

Why do we do this? We've become a nation of lawsuits and we know that a new believer is a "liability". They don't have all the answers, their theology isn't quite right yet, their character needs refining, they haven't gone through inner healing sessions. 

Strangely enough, that's not how Jesus did His ministry. He found the most flawed people around, showed them His love, and unleashed them. He was constantly reminding them of their power, not their weakness. He was showing them they were healed, not in need of more healing. He was encouraging them to dream bigger, to have more faith, to push the boundaries of their belief. Yes, He taught them, He discipled them, He lovingly corrected them - but not before giving them license to operate as His name bearers. He was unafraid of their weakness. 

I want to encourage you. If you have a fire for Jesus burning inside of you, don't let anyone put it out. You are fully equipped, fully licensed, fully ready to dream big dreams and do big things that will bring the Kingdom of God to Earth. You will learn, you will make mistakes, you will grow all along the way. Don't worry, God isn't afraid of your weakness. You can't tarnish His good name by trying to show too much love to those around you, by sharing the Gospel, praying for healing, bringing restoration to the broken, connection to the lonely, and rest for the weary - even if you don't do it "perfectly". 

Don't be hung up on the minutiae. There is a lost and broken and hurting world out there that needs Jesus. They don't need a perfect messenger, just a perfect God. 

So just go. Make disciples. Make disciples that make disciples. 

Erika Ulrich