Roy Blackwood has been a close personal friend of mine for years. He has been multiplying disciples since he went to Indianapolis, Indian, to form a new congregation in his denomination. He determined to build his ministry on the philosophy of spiritual multiplication.
He did not want to be just a Bible teacher to a group of spiritually hungry souls who would et their only ration of spiritual food once a week from his sermons. He wanted to train a band of strong, rugged soldiers of the Cross who would then collaborate with him in the work of the ministry in the church.
Some years have now passed, and his ministry has proved to be one of the unique expressions of discipleship in our day. Roy has his disciples. In fact, when he and his wife went around the world on a preaching and lecture tour, he left the church in the able hands of the people whom he had trained and was gone for almost a year.
During his absence, the men preached the sermons and directed the activities of the church. They did the ministry, and Lord blessed their efforts as the congregation grew and flourished under their leadership. When Roy and his wife returned from their trip, he wondered if there could still be a place and a need for him. There was, of course, but he would work with the others in the ministry of multiplying disciples.
Some years ago a man came to me with what he thought was a great idea. He was bubbling over with enthusiasm and was eager to secure my participation in his plan to forward the work of Christ. So I listened carefully. When he had finished, I declined his offer to become involved. He was surprised and asked why I would not work with him.
“Two reasons,” I replied. “One, it is not scriptural. Two, it won’t work.”
What I enjoy so much about this approach to ministry is that is it scriptural and it works. In the first place, it is a scriptural approach to helping fulfill Christ’s Great Commission (Matt. 28:18- 20) and helping to do something about training workers (Matt. 9:37-38), who today, as in Christ’s day, are still few.
Second, I have seen it in action for over thirty-five years, and it works. When some of us were involved in a ministry of multiplying disciples in the 1950s, we didn’t have it well codified and organized. We just called it “working with a few men (or women).” But since those days I’ve watched pastors, housewives, missionaries, nurses, building contractors, school teachers, seminary professors, and grocery-store owners get involved in the lives of a few people. I have seen the Lord bless their efforts and multiply their lives in Christ into the lives of others.
This is not a cure-all of course, but few things are. But I do know this. When you start spending individual time with another Christian for the purpose of having a ministry in his or her life—time together in the Word, prayer, fellowship, systematic training—something happens in your own life as well. May God grant you patience, love, and perseverance as you begin to share with others the life He has given you.
– From “The Lost Art of Disciple Making ,” LeRoy Eims. Used by permission of the author.