Making disciples is a core calling for every believer. It’s God’s plan to use His followers to encourage those we meet to consider Jesus, follow Him, and become disciple-makers themselves. With the complexities of life, cultures, perceptions, and values, becoming a disciple can be a complicated process. That’s true for us who may have been following Jesus for some time. It’s even more involved for those who have no understanding yet of who this Jesus is. So, just like an orchestra performs inspiring music, it takes a wide variety of approaches to weave together experiences and conversations that encourage someone to consider Jesus for themselves.
I recently participated in a Disciple Making Movement (DMM) media workshop hosted by FEBC’s partner, Ibra Media. The week-long workshop took place in northern Thailand where a number of media teams from Ibra’s network came together. We met to explore how media can provide value to sparking a DMM in a particular people group or community.
It became clear early on that media can only be a part of a larger discipling strategy. It requires intentional disciple-makers entering the community in search of open and spiritually hungry individuals (called persons of peace) who eagerly introduce what they are discovering to their existing networks of relationships. Guided by their mentors, it will be these persons of peace who will share the stories and start the conversations about Jesus.
We uncovered some key roles that media can have in activating a DMM in a particular context. The preparation and delivery of culturally meaningful content that awakens a community to DMM include:
- Inviting and engaging potential persons of peace to respond to discussions exploring issues of values and life in the community. As these candidates respond, engage, and pursue answers to their spiritual hunger, they are invited into discipling relationships with DMM partners.
- Introduce the community to exploring spiritual insights through sharing and discussing stories found in Scripture together in small groups comprised only of people from the community. In DMM, such a small group is called a Discovery Bible Study (DBS), focused upon discovering truth and obeying what’s learned.
Such partnerships between DMM ministries and media require close coordination to link respondents to mentors for discipling. As these DBS groups form, the strategy encourages participants to start new groups around the same stories. This multiplies the discovery of Jesus throughout the community in its own ethnic and cultural contexts.
As FEBC develops new strategies for reaching into peoples who have yet to hear about Jesus, DMM partnerships can be one strategy that results in growing numbers of disciples following Jesus in the context of their community. There are still plenty of these people clusters around that FEBC is in a position to serve. My role as a facilitator is to introduce this and other strategies among FEBC ministries as they develop and produce their content. It is up to each FEBC ministry to embrace and implement the approach that will work for them.
When people desire to meet Jesus, He will show up, be discovered, and attract disciples to Himself. God, the maker of every culture, will reveal Himself in ways that only these new disciples can truly appreciate. When conversations start in the community, great things can happen.
For more information about Disciple Making Movements, check here.