You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. John 16:16 NIV
Christianity began as a small group of people who followed a Rabbi. The small group of people told stories about their Rabbi to their families and friends. They invited others to come and investigate their Rabbi for themselves. More followers of the Rabbi were created and sent out to tell their story. The followers of the Rabbi spoke to people in the surrounding villages, along roadsides and as they visited the cosmopolitan center of Judaism, Jerusalem. They didn't stop in Jerusalem. They expanded their influence through Judea, Samaria and to the ends of the earth.
The Rabbi's early followers wanted others to know how life could be different. They wanted others to know the freedom, power and grace they could experience even in the presence of the dominant world power of the Roman Empire. The perilous early days of Christianity were filled with persecution. But, the explosive growth of Christianity is credited to a pattern of disciple making. The pattern emerged through the conscientious selection of other like-minded Christians to equip others to influence the world for the Kingdom of God.
It's about multiplication.
Jesus is our leader and supreme example of how to influence and invite others to follow him. He selected individuals and invested his life into them over a period of time. Peter, James and John represent Jesus' inner circle. They experienced Jesus' miraculous power, love and forgiveness first-hand. Jesus also invested personally in the lives of nine other disciples. The twelve, also known as the Apostles, were his witnesses and the Church was founded upon their intense commitment and leadership. Jesus entrusted seventy-two leaders with the special task to minister in pairs to the regions of the Roman Empire villages.
There were 120 believers gathered in the Upper room when the Holy Spirit came on the Day of Pentecost. They were faithful followers and became equipped by the power of the Holy Spirit to do great things for God's kingdom. Large crowds followed Jesus and then the disciples. However, large crowds were not the central focus of Jesus. Jesus poured his time, teaching and patience into a small group of followers that they might influence others to reach the broken world with a message of hope and reconciliation through knowing Jesus Christ.
From simple believer to a connected, devoted and generous follower
Real Kingdom change occurs when followers of Jesus take their role of disciple making seriously. Obedience isn't a word many of us like but it is crucial when working for God to meet his goals and purposes. Consider who taught you the foundations of our Christian faith and coached you to grow from a simple believer to become a disciple of Jesus. Who may be waiting to hear your story? Who may need your special type of mentoring or coaching? Who could benefit from hearing about the power, love and forgiveness Jesus offers right now? The result will be that God is glorified and we produce the fruit that will last. Pay attention to the investments you make this week in the people close to you. May you decide to make a personal investment in someone that produces eternal results.
Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15