USING EVERYONE’S GIFTS TO DISCIPLE
By Don Krow
Level 3 Lesson 16
Today we want to talk about using everyone’s gifts to disciple. They can be used. We’ve been working with this discipleship program for many months with great success, seeing people’s lives changed by being born again, baptized in the Holy Spirit, and water baptized. One day I was talking to a friend and said, “We’re missing some things— they’re falling through the cracks.” He said, “I thought everything was working great. What do you mean?”
What I’m going to share with you is how to bring an inward church—where people just sit, listen to the pastor, and go home—to be an outward church where they reach beyond the four walls of the church building. These are the real statistics: 95 percent of all Christians have never led anybody to the Lord and 90 percent of evangelism is directed toward Christians. The church building is the most evangelized area in the world. We evangelize the Sunday school rooms, and we evangelize the sanctuary. The way we evangelize the building, you would think the church needs converting.
It wasn’t until the third century under Constantine that church buildings came into being. Since that time, as far as reaching out to the lost, the church has gone inward and hid behind the walls of the church buildings. We want to talk about reaching out beyond those walls to turn an inward church into an outward church. Statistically, there are only 0.5 percent (less than one percent) of programs that reach beyond the four walls of our buildings. That says there is no major denomination in the United States today that has a plan to really reach the lost. Reaching and discipling people outside our church buildings is a part of Christianity that needs to be rediscovered.
Through the Reformation, Martin Luther brought the revelation of justification through faith to the church’s attention. In the 1800s, mass evangelism came through John Wesley. But it seems that personal one-on-one discipling and evangelism has not been rediscovered since the Apostles. You may say, “I don’t know how.” Through this program, we definitely will show you how—it’s very easy. We’ll show you how easy it is to work with people and to meet new people at the door through using your testimony. This is what I want to focus on now. This is the good news.
How would you like to do just what you want to do, not what somebody else wants you to do (that you really don’t want to do), but exactly what you want to do? That’s what we’re talking about. When I show people how Discipleship Evangelism works, saying, “Look, this is what we’re doing: We’re touching people’s lives. They’re being saved, born again, filled with the Holy Spirit, and water-baptized.” People say, “That’s great!” But if I said “Now, how many of you want to go with me,” there would be maybe three of you out of two hundred, because the rest of them are scared or don’t know how to do it. Or, if I said, “Now, forget about it. Don’t worry about it; you don’t have to be afraid. We’ll go out and get the Bible studies and set up discipleship lessons for you.” How many would want to teach? There would be more then—about ten or twelve—saying, “Yes, I want to teach.” But it wouldn’t go beyond that.
What we want to do is show you how every gift in the body of Christ can be used to reach the lost, to love and disciple them. It will take every gift, and those gifts are found only in the body of Christ, the local church. Some of you say, “I like to pray for the baptism of the Holy Spirit, healing, and things like that.” Well, there’s a time in our discipeship when we can bring you in just for that purpose. Other people say, “I’m not comfortable with that,” but can you bake a pie? Can you send a card? Can you make a phone call? Can you paint a fence? Can you baby-sit for a single mom we’re ministering to and give her an hour to herself so she can get out of the house? Can you do the practical things? What about intercession? Some of you are called to intercede, to pray. We’ll show you the people we’re ministering to, give you their names, and you can be praying and interceding, alone or in groups, for them and for the Discipleship Evangelism teams that go out each week.
There is room for everyone to reach out to others, to disciple. We have a program where every gift can be used. We’re developing teams of a teacher and a teacher’s assistant who go out in a discipleship capacity to minister. Then two people in the helps ministry come in behind them to do practical things, like giving food, baking a pie, or calling to see how things are going. We also have people who are interceding for us and the people we minister to.
Do you know what we’re seeing? We’re seeing God change people’s lives because they are being pastored and cared for, because His love is being shown to them. And do you know who is doing the work of the ministry? It’s being done by the ones who are supposed to do it—the people. Ephesians 4:11 says the apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor, and teacher are given to perfect the saints so they can do the work of the ministry. The church is doing the work of the ministry, not only the man at the front called “the pastor.” When the pastor teaches and equips the church for works of service and they go and do them, that is true success.
Let me illustrate. If we declared war on another nation and our president said, “We lose too many men in war, so I have decided to do away with the army and send just the generals out there to fight.” The rest of the world would laugh at us, and really that’s what’s happening. The devil is laughing at us because we have sent the generals, the five-fold ministry, to do it all. “Let them do it—we’re paying them to do it.” We have failed to develop an army. God wants to develop that army, and every one of our gifts can be used in Discipleship Evangelism.
We want to help create an army, equipped with powerful tools to disciple—not just here in our city—but reaching around the world. It can be done through the tools we have developed, the discipleship lessons and all of the strategies God has given us.
God bless you as everyone comes together to use their gifts to minister to the lost, to the new believer, and to keep Jesus’ commandment to go and disciple the nations.