DMM counter-intuitives: Focus on discipling ordinary people not developing “professional” Christians.
We love experts! We need experts! The more important the issue is to us the more we demand highly trained, extensively experienced and recognized experts.
When our daughter was born she had a rare genetic malformation that resulted in part of her esophagus turning and connecting her stomach to her wind pipe. The upper portion of her esophagus just dead ended down in her tiny chest. Because a developing child breathes and swallows amniotic fluid prior to birth, her life was at risk if those fluids were pushed back into her air-filled lungs. Major surgery was essential.
I was thankful to discover that the specialist to whom she was referred was the pre-eminent surgeon on the east coast for this type of surgery. He was a confident doctor who set me at ease through his bed-side manner and the way he explained what would take place. He even gave me a photo-copied a diagram from his medical journal that allowed me to visualize the problem.
We all need the pre-eminent specialist to experience spiritual healing! His name is Jesus.
People who have not heard of Jesus, yet, need to see living testimonies of his handiwork. They need to see families that are evidence of his transforming power. They need ordinary people doing extraordinary works by his resurrection power to be able to envision themselves being part of God’s answer to the world’s greatest needs. Taxi drivers and shop keepers become wonderful disciple makers. Quarter backs and hair dressers can learn to lead people to Jesus.
Pastors and cross-cultural missionaries all have their place in kingdom work, but we must re-capture the biblical teaching on the priesthood of believers (1 Peter 2:9)! When you look at the twelve men Jesus chose to disciple, their normalcy jumps out. There was not one expert in the group. There were no specialists. Except Jesus!
Being willing to hear and obey Jesus—that’s what is needed. When ordinary folks hear Jesus and obey some fruitful promises are fulfilled (John chapters 14 & 15)!
In evangelism, my position in pastoral ministry was an obstacle more often than an aid. For thirty-one years I watched people pull back when they asked, “What kind of work do you do?” I know of a taxi driver who discipled many passengers who brought their households to faith. Then somebody offered to support him to make disciples full-time. After a while he turned in his “professional” badge because it became a hindrance.
When ordinary people make disciples, the ordinary people they disciples realize they can do it too! Whether they are discipled by “ordinary” people or “professionals,” they are ultimately treated by the same specialist—Jesus!