Because the ministry of multiplication is so effective, it will be fought tooth and nail by our enemy the devil. He will strive to combat it in every way possible, and one of his best tools is to use misconceptions. We need to be alert to these to fulfill our ministries of disciple making. There are a number of misconceptions that can hinder our work:
That an emphasis on discipleship neglects evangelism. Our ministries are not either/or, but both/and. We are not only to follow up others but also to win people to Christ. The end result of all one‐on‐one training develops a lifestyle of spiritual reproduction.
That the congregation at large is neglected when one-on-one discipleship is emphasized. After His resurrection Jesus appeared to Peter and asked him three times if he loved Him. When Peter relied each time in the affirmative, Jesus told him, “Feed my lambs,” “Take care of my sheep,” “Feed my sheep” (John 21:15‐17).
“Feeding sheep” means ministering to the multitude of the family of God. It is not the same as one‐on‐one discipleship. Paul later pointed out that God has given special gifts to some members of the body in order that they, the pastors/teachers, may develop the saints (the Christian community) to go out and do the ministry (Eph. 4:11‐12). Jesus Himself carried on both a public and a private ministry. Again the answer is both/ and, not either/or.
That you have to be a finished product to help others become disciples. You only have to be one step ahead of others to help them down the entire length of the road of life. When Paul did not claim to be completely mature when he trained Timothy and others.
That clergymen can’t do it because they are too busy. Many are already doing it, but they had to reassess their priorities and become willing to pay the price.
That you must be an ordained minister to do it. Sometimes even clergymen and theologians do not know how to reach others face‐to‐face. W. A. Criswell tells the story of a group of modernistic theologians who met with the Lord Jesus. The Lord asked these famous and illustrious theologians, “Who do men say that I am?” And they replied, “Some say that you are John the Baptist raised from the dead; some say that you are Jeremiah or one of the prophets; and even some say you are the Christ, the Son of God.” Then the Lord asked the theologians, “But who do you say I am?” And the theologians gave a learned answer, “Thou art the ground of being, thou art the leap of faith into the impenetrable unknown, thou art the existential, unphraseable, unverbalized, unpropositional confrontation with the infinitude of inherent, subjective experience.” The Lord turned sadly away.
– From “Making Disciples,” Gene Warr. Used by permission of the author.