Several years ago, I was on a short-term mission in Africa. While gathering with a local church in an outdoor courtyard, amongst the chickens running around, one church leader came up to “play” and sing as we began our time together. To our team’s surprise, he began “playing” the air guitar…or, maybe it was the air bass guitar. Either way, play it he did.
At first, I wasn’t quite sure what to think. As he continued to play and begin singing, I realized, “He’s pretty good at the air guitar.” Side note, it takes quite the talent to both “play” the air guitar and sing at the same time, but he pulled it off. (Go ahead, give it a try). His song? “Soon and Very Soon.” By the time he got to the third verse—“No more dying there, we are going to see the King”—he had taken it up several notches in pitch and enthusiasm! About that time, a chicken flew from behind me and landed on my shoulder. Needless to say, my pitch and enthusiasm rose as well!!
The Lord’s coming should excite us. We should be eager for that Day. However, the work of the Great Commission must continue until then. Our responsibility to make disciples of all nations remains until the coming of the Lord. But how can we ensure that the gospel spreads among a growing world population at over 7 billion, of which over 4 billion are unreached?
In short, multiply disciples. As we examine the life of Paul, we see a man who continually poured his life into the lives of others. He was strategic about multiplication. He understood that for the gospel to advance well beyond his life or any of our lives, we must continually raise up disciples who will make disciples. In other words, our lives are meant to multiply the gospel by making disciples who make disciples.
Paul’s final words to one of his disciples, Timothy, serves to illustrate this principle. While awaiting execution on death row, the apostle charges the young disciple, “The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also” (2 Tim 2:2). Paul challenges Timothy to pass on to others what was passed on to him.
That is the essence of the Great Commission. In fact, Jesus’ last words to His disciples ring with similarity, “Teaching them to observe all that I commanded you…” (Matt 28:20). In summary, what I have taught you, you must teach others. Remember though, the goal is not simply the dissemination of information, but transformation. We multiply in the lives of others not simply to know, but to do.
So, as long as Jesus’ return is still to come, we have the responsibility to multiply disciples. Let me briefly suggest three ways to multiply disciples. Find a Timothy and regularly:
- Pray together.
- Read and discuss Scripture together.
- Serve together (in the church, in the community, across cultures).
This much we know. “Soon and very soon, we are going to see the King” (insert air guitar here). Until that Day, we must multiply disciples in order to join in that multi-cultural chorus, “Hallelujah, we are going to see the King.”