I was very impressed with the men I met at the first church building site in Chavakali. They were dressed their best in suits and had come to check out the new construction. They were both key leaders in the regional Baptist convention.
I got into a conversation with them about how people from home could help the most. He told me of many churches that basically just come for a week or two and then leave, never to return or even check in on them. He said that it was great that they came in did these projects, but what their people needed the most was for relationships and partnerships to form so that the Kenyans could get the best training for reproducing more Christ followers. They pleaded with me to tell the folks back home that they needed people to keep up relationships with them by discipling them so they could disciple others.
This school of thought could not be more poignant. While training as a Prayer Leader at Liberty University, I’ll never forget the definition of Discipling I learned from one of the books I read that, “Discipling others is the process by which a Christian with a life worth emulating, commits himself for an extended period of time to a few individuals who have been won to Christ, for the purpose of guiding their spiritual growth to maturity and equipping them to reproduce themselves in a third spiritual generation.”
I firmly believe that evangelism is most successful where there is strong discipleship. God’s kingdom certainly isn’t bound by any formulas of evangelism that man has created. It is very clear what God expects us to do when we go. “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20).
It’s not just about going. It’s not about leading people to salvation in Christ and leaving them to fend for themselves. The element that spurs on church growth is discipleship. In the Great Commission, the command to make disciples is reinforced when Jesus specifically says to baptize them in the name of the trinity and to teach them to obey everything He has commanded us. That’s what discipleship is about…disciplining ourselves to follow His commandments. Discipleship is about training.
The Holy Spirit helps us to become new creations by training our minds to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ and then to put that knowledge into action. How will people know what God’s commands are to them unless there is someone to point them to His word?
That’s what these Kenyans were urging us to partner with them for…to help them be discipled so that they in turn could disciple their own people.