We all know the world is a mess--no need to amplify on that here. As difficult as our world is, though, the world into which Jesus was born was a far more desperate place. Government oppression, a lack of women's rights, economic marriages, child labor, religious legalism, poverty, sickness, and disease.
And we all know His strategy to solve those problems. He took twelve men aside, discipled them, and inspired them to spend their lives becoming and making other disciples who, in turn, would disciple others to do likewise. It was a great plan. It still is. Scripture is clear. However we got into the current situation, the only solution is to disciple our way out. So what's holding us back?
It's Not "Go And Become Disciples"
Jesus did not say, "Go and become disciples." Of course, you can't give what you don't have, so becoming a disciple is important. But for at least one generation, we have emphasized "becoming" at the expense of "making." The result?
We have created a spiritually obese generation of disciples with no vision to make other disciples. They are spiritual overeaters that don't get enough exercise. It has created a huge bottleneck for reaching younger generations with the Gospel. Most Christians today are not contagious. We sneeze and nobody catches what we have. The solution?
There is a lot to it--like training. But the starting point is that we need to recast the vision for "making" disciples. And what if you are already making disciples? Make sure you're equipping your disciples to "make" disciples, not just "become" disciples. You're not making disciples until your disciples are making disciples. (2 Timothy 2:2)
The New Bottleneck In Men's Discipleship
Twenty years ago there wasn't enough good curriculum to disciple men. Leaders in the movement recognized that as the bottleneck--the one thing "most" holding us back--and began encouraging curriculum developers. Today I'm happy to say there is a plethora of good curriculum to disciple men. It has led to an acceleration in men's discipleship. A lot can happen in 20 years if you are intentional. So what's the bottleneck today that, if removed, would most lead to an acceleration in men's discipleship over the next 20 years?
The bottleneck today--the one thing most holding us back--is for men who have been discipled to turn around and disciple other men. There is no greater need or opportunity than for the men who have been discipled with all this good curriculum to reproduce themselves by making disciples of other men. That's the bottleneck today.
It is fundamentally a communication problem. Why? Because almost every church knows it needs to do more for their men. But they lack successful, proven, and sustainable models. We have the models. We just need to get the word out through a nationwide network of Area Directors, Field Representatives, and other allies who "get it." Once we solve this problem--and by God's grace we will, we will see another acceleration. Who knows? We may even see spiritual revival and awakening.