Finding Jesus’ Model of Making Disciples

By Dr. Jay Zinn


Several years ago, one of the most prominent churches in the northern Midwest confessed publicly they had failed to make disciples. Instead, church leaders had initiated a model and movement that turned Sunday services into weekly events of evangelism. The church grew quickly and so did thousands of other churches who followed this model. But the leaders discovered they were not making disciples out of their converts. They had failed in the great commission of Christ. Through their evangelical method, they brought in thousands of decisions for Christ, but failed to nurture strong, mature church members who could be growing steadily in faith.

Other movements have tried to address this issue. On an international scale, the “Cell Group Church” of the ‘70s and ‘80s developed after dedicated Christians discovered that large congregations lacked community, accountability, and deeper growth in Christ. Their solution became small groups of Christians meeting weekly in homes, facilitated by a host who demonstrated some level of maturity in Christ.

However, as our culture changes, busy 21st- century Western church-goers find it increasingly difficult to sacrifice the time and effort to participate. Sunday morning services are just about all the time they can spare. Another challenge is boredom, which makes it difficult to sustain a level of commitment. Though solutions such as different topics or an emphasis on prayer are offered, consistency eventually wanes and people stop growing under yet another method. Meetings descend into not much more than surface fellowship.

Other new methods have come and gone, but fall short of bringing the average Christian into self-reliant and self-sustainable growth. So now the most important question – how did Jesus do it? How did he formulate the foundation for sustainable growth in individuals to carry on his initial mission to save people and advance the kingdom of God? In this issue we’ll examine this subject and provoke you to reconsider the basic principle of discipleship – how you can disciple the few and produce fruit that remains.


Jay Zinn




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