First issued almost 2,000 years ago, the Great Commission seems to loom over the church’s head in the abstract and intangible. It seems like such a far-off goal, one that would require such coordination and cooperation that it might as well be impossible.
But what if it wasn’t so far off after all?
What if there was a way to reach the 3 billion people in the world who still have never heard the Gospel?
Create Relationships, Make Disciples
Disciples are followers. Because a disciple cannot exist without someone or something to follow, relationship is intrinsic to discipleship.
As Christians who are trying to make disciples, who are trying to finish the Great Commission, we are asking others to walk with us as we follow Christ. We are developing horizontal relationships as we develop our vertical one.
But how can we make a disciple, a follower, without even having a relationship to develop—if that really is so necessary to discipleship? Especially when looking at international missions, how can we bridge cultural divides and language barriers that all seem to hinder relationships?
The answer? We don’t have to.
Instead, we can help those who already have that relationship in place. At T-Net, we train indigenous Christians to make disciples who make disciples because they already share a common language, space, and cultural value system with their neighbors.
Sure, we could spend a few years learning a remote dialect of a language and live in a village for another fifteen to twenty years trying to get a strong church plant going.
Or, we could train someone who lives in that village.
Equip them with disciple-making training.
Fan their passion for reaching their neighbors.
Watch the Gospel spread.
This is not to argue against traditional mission methods, but simply to illustrate a much more efficient and effective method of finishing the Great Commission.
We have already been able to see the amazing impact of equipping indigenous leaders around the world.
Just hone in on Burkina Faso, over half of whose population is Muslim.
T-Net entered the country in 2017 and began training just 20 pastors in 1 training center. They received a practical education, such as how to make a disciple, how to plant a church, and how to teach the Bible. These pastors worked hard to implement what they learned as they learned, all while staying in their respective ministry positions.
Now, fast forward to 2021. In only four years, the numbers exploded from 20 pastors to 1,500 pastors in training in 70 different training centers across the country.
But what does this really mean?
Part of T-Net’s training involves students actually starting new church plants. These 1,500 pastors have been able to start 1,500 brand new churches in Burkina Faso alone. And each one of those churches have been started with discipleship in mind, with a focus to go out into the surrounding region to make even more disciples in order to win that region for Christ.
How long would it have taken us to plant those 1,500 churches without indigenous disciple-makers?
Indigenous leaders are and will be essential to finishing the Great Commission because the Gospel can travel quicker from their lips than ours, because of the relationships they have with their neighbors that would take us years to develop. Not to mention that indigenous disciples can go into hostile places with the Gospel much easier than we ever could.
All About Finishing
Training others how to make disciple-makers is like teaching a man how to fish instead of giving him one. It’s like what Jesus did. He said, “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men.”
Equipping indigenous leaders is a biblical approach to disciple-making and an effective one.
An approach centered on finishing the Great Commission.