I am currently preparing to take a mission trip with a small team to the Middle East. I did a zoom conference call with the missionaries who are on the ground there just to see some of the things they are doing to engage the people in their city. He told me that their daily strategy was to build relationships, introduce the things of Christ, and when someone shows interest, they begin meeting regularly to reason over the scriptures and discuss the gospel further. The context where they are serving is over 96% Muslim. As you would imagine, seeing someone come to faith in Christ is much more than a one-time gospel presentation. He begin to share with me that the amount of time he has to spend with people in evangelism is a blessing, but it begins to become overwhelming. Considering that just a handful of interested people could consume your entire week with meetings and conversations about Jesus, it can be taxing to keep up with them all. Then he said something interesting. He said we have gotten to the place where we have to mobilize more Christians to help meet with and follow up with all of these people who are interested in going further. Instead of him trying to go all the work himself, he has taught a few others how to have these meetings and walk with a seeking Muslim until they come to faith in Jesus. Mobilizing others is their best strategy for making disciples in a hard context. Mobilization is the idea of helping someone catch a vision of mission, providing them with opportunities and tools for mission, then setting them in motion to go execute that mission. Mobilization has to be a focal point of discipleship. Enlisting others to help us with the work of mission. Don't wait until you close your d-group to charge people to be missional. Most likely, if they aren't doing it while you are still training them, they won't do it when you end the group. Consider ways to begin mobilizing those you disciple, while you are still walking with them.
If you are someone who has many opportunities for evangelism, consider how to introduce someone you are discipling to one of those relationships, and assign them with the task of keeping up that relationship.
If you have an identified mission field (ie. neighborhood, gym, school, ball team), consider how to have the people you are discipling also frequent the same place and fish the same pond.
If you are leading any ministry and have the responsibility of following up with others, give those responsibilities to people you are discipling.
If you hear of a great opportunity to serve somewhere or get asked to do something you don't have the time or capacity to do, give that opportunity to someone you are discipling.
Mobilizing others requires you to say no to some things you could do yourself, in order to grant others the chance to use their gifts and grow. Most of the time, those you are discipling will not feel ready or competent to do what you are asking them to do, which is a part of their training. If you focus on mobilizing disciples while they are still with you, you are able to provide coaching and encouragement until they are ready to have their own evangelistic presence in their own missional context.
This couple overcame marital struggles to begin using their marriage as a vehicle to make disciples. See their story here.
Ben White, Unsplash