Let’s begin with this: Intentional Disciple Making is the last movement of the Christian church.
“Last as in final? Or last as in most recent?”, you say.
Both. Think about it as I explain the Intentional Disciple Making Church (IDMC) movement.
As you think about it, you start to sense that you already know what I might say – something you understand in your heart and know to be true. You know what it means to be intentional. You know Jesus made disciples.
Yes, Jesus was intentional about making his disciples. Before he left the world, Jesus’ final mandate to us, was, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19).
“I know”, you say. “So…?”
What is IDMC all about?
IDMC is not a program, ministry, or even a model for doing church. Not about the external activities we can do for Christ, but about our internal transformation to becoming more like Christ.
What distinguishes intentional discipleship is that Jesus showed us first who we need to be, in order to make disciples. Jesus modelled the standard as a man here on earth, and heavily invested into the lives of his twelve disciples. However, discipleship is a two-way street and to be a disciple, each of the twelve had to leave their former way of life (or lay down their lives) to follow Jesus.
One of these disciples was Paul, who said,
“And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others.” (2 Timothy 2:2)
Paul was indoctrinated to disciple others and passes on a strategy for Timothy to do the same. Disciplemaking was essentially the first church movement, and as a result, Timothy becomes a second generation disciple of Jesus. The “reliable men” become a third generation, and they teach “others” as the fourth. At the nth degree, you and I become a part of the equation.
The multiplication is powerful, but there’s more to it than that. The Greek word for “others” is “heteros” which refers not to the numerical implication of “others”, but that being another of the same quality, or a certain kind. Therefore, our primary task as a church is not about how many numbers we can congregate, but to reproduce disciples of a certain kind. Not merely multiplication, but intentional replication.
However, we can only replicate who we are so, as the disciples were required to give up their former ways, we must allow Christ to continually work in us in order to become more like him.
Authentic Disciple, Intentional Disciplemaker
When a church embraces the primary task of developing its people over its programs, the result is a church of authentic disciples. Authentic disciples who grow to full maturity in Christ and become disciplemakers, who replicate a certain kind. So, you can begin with a faithful twelve and impact countless people, through the process of intentional disciple making.
Intentional disciplemaking is the process of bringing people into right relationship with God, and developing them to full maturity in Christ through intentional growth strategies, that they might multiply the entire process in others also.
We can break this down into four key aspects:
- Bringing people into right relationship with God –
We must have a passion for the lost and responsibly evangelise to them.
- Developing them to full maturity in Christ –
We must nurture spiritual maturity, and not merely entertain spiritual infancy (even if it hurts!).
- Through intentional growth strategies –
Spiritual growth from new converts to faithful Christians must be catered for with intentional growth strategies, using Bible-based core curriculum.
- That they might multiply the entire process in others also –
Disciplemaking is about reproducing effective disciples.
The fruit of an IDMC is a certain kind of disciple. The nth generation disciple, devoted to Jesus in the same way Paul was. Spiritually mature, continually growing in Christlikeness, and intentional about making disciples of others.
Imagine… what would church be like? What kind of impact would it have on the world?
Jesus left us with a task to do and gave us the formula to do it. It started the first and last movement of the Christian church.
So what are we waiting for? Let’s go make disciples!
IDMC Conference Sydney 2018: Starting Over will take place on 17-18 August, 2018 at Hillsong Convention Centre, Baulkham Hills, NSW. To register or learn more about IDMC Conference or IDMC Australia, visit www.idmcconference.com.au.