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Generational Discipleship

In Robert Coleman’s classic book, The Master Plan of Evangelism, highlights the central strategy of Jesus’ disciple making: Jesus invested in the lives of a few to reach the many. Coleman writes, “His concern was not with programs to reach the multitudes, but with people whom the multitudes would follow.”

The key to Jesus’ investment in His disciples was His trust that they would be able to invest in other people, creating a ripple effect that would incrementally grow outward. This type of disciple making is what occurs when we pursue Christ, and it’s something I call “generational disciple-making.

God’s design for generational disciple making rests on the foundations from Scripture both the Old and New Testaments, we see God using people to further His Kingdom. In the Scripture, God’s heart for disciple making doesn’t only involve what’s happening today, but it considers the future.

The promise of Abraham:

God’s heart for discipleship always includes a vision for generations and nations undergirded by His purpose and promise. 17 I will indeed bless you and make your offspring as numerous as the stars of the sky and the sand on the seashore. Your offspring will possess the city gates of their enemies. 18 And all the nations of the earth will be blessed by your offspring because you have obeyed my command.” — Genesis 22:17-18 (CSB)

The Great Commission:

Jesus saw the answer to a chaotic world in His disciples and their disciples. He modeled how to live a disciple-making life for three years He was with His own (Mark 3:14). He imparted the vision to them and prayed for them and prayed for them to continue the same pattern (John 17:20;20:21). Finally, He gave them this mandate: 18 Jesus came near and said to them,“All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” — Matthew 28:18-20 (CSB)

Generations of Grace:

In 2 Timothy 2, we are given a beautiful picture of four disciples that took years and even decades, to fully evolve. We must never forget that verse one; disciples are made by other disciples. You, therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 2 What you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, commit to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. — 2 Timothy 2:1-2 (CSB)

God’s Plan:

Spiritual generations are God’s answer to a broken world, as represented in Jesus’ prayer in John 17:20 “I pray not only for these, but also for those who believe in me through their word. — John 17:20 (CSB) Generational disciple-making is God’s plan for the world. Believers who know that heart of Jesus and pursue Him will participate in these ripples of Jesus’ grace. I hope and pray your pursuit of Christ will lead you to join God’s mission to see generations of disciple-makers living and discipling those yet to know and grow in Christ and help others do the same.

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