Village Schools of the Bible is committed to Great Commission multiplication.
The world around us is darkening spiritually. Therefore let’s remember the Gospel is our first priority (1 Cor 15:3-4). It’s God’s love language to the Lost (John 3:16). The Great Commission, fueled by the Great Commandments, is God’s vehicle for reaching, redeeming and growing His church (Romans 10:15; Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 1:8). For this reason, the Great Commission is the most important mission for the church. It’s how people come to know — and grow — in Jesus, the Light of the world (John 8:12).
Each One Reach One
Multiplication drives exponential growth. The graph above shows how long it could take to reach and disciple everyone on the planet. This assumes we start with just one disciple of Jesus, who disciples one other disciple each year to be a disciple maker, and those new disciples do the same each year. The number of disciples multiplies annually. At this rate, 10 billion people could be discipled within a generation, or 34 years, starting with just one follower of Jesus.
Obviously, this is not easy or straightforward. The church that the Holy Spirit gave birth to in the Book of Acts was a rapidly multiplying, expansive people movement during a time of intense persecution that cost countless lives. Yet, starting with Jesus and the twelve disciples, this explosive gospel movement turned the Roman Empire upside down and went on to become a worldwide movement. Today this kind of momentum has largely waned in the Western world, although the rapid expansion of Christianity continues elsewhere (e.g. Asia, where persecution is intense). Just 4% of North American churches are multiplying rapidly. Regrettably, 80% have plateaued or are in decline (even though, ironically, there’s little persecution to speak of). So let’s return to the kind of church that the Holy Spirit gave birth to in the Book of Acts – a fearless and explosive, multiplying, gospel movement!
What would happen if we recovered the multiplication DNA of the Great Commission? Let’s take a closer look.
To the Ends of the Earth
This table shows the effectiveness of discipling by multiplication. The numbers start small but the impact over the long haul is extraordinary. The “Years time” column shows how long it would take to disciple the entire world starting with a given number of disciples. So if you are aged 30 today and became a committed disciple multiplier, in principle you could start a movement that would disciple everyone in the world by the time you were 64. If we assume that 260 million evangelical Christians in the world today could be mobilized for intentional Great Commission multiplication, it would take just 6 years to disciple the rest of the world!
And that’s just at the rate of each disciple multiplying once per year. Now imagine the accelerated impact if not only each disciple, but each small group and church multiplied each year as well, not in their silos, but in synergistic partnership with others, as in the Book of Acts. Sound impossible? Around 4% of North American churches are doing just that. It’s a small number of churches, but they’re starting to make a bigger and bigger impact each year through synergistic exponential multiplication.
Our goal at Village Schools of the Bible is not just to make disciples (addition), it’s to make disciples who make disciples who make disciples (multiplication) in partnership with others. We see this multiplication principle in 2 Timothy 2:2.
[W]hat you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also.
Multiplication is the embedded DNA of the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20): Go therefore and make disciples of all nations… The most effective way to disciple all nations is through multiplication in partnership with others.
Furthermore, the Great Commissions entails teaching disciples to observe all that I have commanded you. All God has commanded is recorded in the Bible.
Ultimately, only God can disciple His people, and He does so by the Spirit through His Word. That’s why the Word of God is the only sure foundation for discipling — and that’s what Village Schools is all about: Teaching God’s Word and Transforming Lives.
Hungry Beggars Sharing Bread
As you think about the significance of Christmas, consider how you can be a part of this disciple-making movement. Invite others in your network of relationships to take a Cover-to-Cover Bible Survey class. Simply ask them to come and see. Let them be discipled through, and ignited by, God’s Word. Cover-to-Cover is not just for ourselves – it’s also a great opportunity to share the Bread of Life! (John 6:35) That’s what the Great Commission is all about: intentionally multiplying to help others know and grow in Jesus, the Light of the World!
Multiply — Let’s join with Jesus in His redemptive mission for the world!
The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. (Matthew 9:37-38)
Lord Jesus, thank you for redeeming your beloved bride from every nation, tribe, people, and language. You bought us with your life and death — yet we’re not just the bride waiting for your return, but workers called to the harvest. The price you paid for us makes our work for others a joy!
Jesus, we bow before you as the Lord of the harvest — send us purposefully and intentionally into our everyday mission field — the people we rub shoulders with each day. What other story would we choose for the rest of our days than to join your mission of gathering your bride from the nations, for a future beyond imagining? Forgive us, focus us, and free us to serve for the harvest. We pray in your loving and triumphant Name. Amen.
- Ferguson, D. and Bird, W. Hero Maker: Five Essential Practices for Leaders to Multiply Leaders. Zondervan, 2018.
- Greear, J.D. Gaining by Losing: Why the Future belongs to Churches that Send. Zondervan, 1975.
- Smith, Scotty. Everyday Prayers: 365 Days to a Gospel-Centered Faith. Baker, 2011.
This article was written by Warwick Alcock, Director of Strategic Operations, Village Schools of the Bible.