Jesus told us that our main task is making disciples of all nations but how do you do that? Where do you start? Some emphasize "small groups" and would tell you that every church that doesn't have a small group is doomed but they forget to tell you that the best place for small groups is in the prisons - the members can't run away from each other! Others would insist that each church needs to be more "seeker sensitive" but then you will hear all the possible and impossible arguments for how "shallow and superficial are these seeker-sensitive clubs" - so, where do you start? Start with personal evangelism, then take the new converts to a nearby body of water to baptize them, and then, what?
Every journey starts with the first step and we've chosen to start with the leadership. Unless a church has a mature leadership, anything and everything that church does will be short-lived and there will be plenty of problems along the way. Dr. John Maxwell passionately shares in his book The 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader: Becoming the Person Others Will Want to Follow that "everything rises and falls with leadership." If you want to have a healthy and growing church, you need to have a healthy leadership in place. If you want to have healthy, life-giving small groups, you need to have healthy and life-giving leadership in place. We could spend hours arguing what is the best strategy to making disciples of all nations but if our strategies and plans don't include building, equipping, mentoring, and empowering great leadership, we may boast about thousands of people reached but won't have anything to show as a long lasting result.
Leadership is key to starting, establishing, and growing a healthy church. And leadership is key to making disciples.
And that's why for us the first step in making disciples is to equip and prepare the church leaders and pastors for effective and sound Biblical ministry. As we take them through our eight-month-long training Foundational Training Program (GLOMOS: Global Module Studies) we make sure that they keep a missional vision for the lost and for their communities. We help them with practical knowledge, hands-on-ministry, and instill Christ-like character. Immersing them in the learning environment along with other students from a variety of church- and theological-backgrounds, we make sure they all understand that the Kingdom of God is much larger than any of their churches and organization. As these pastors and church leaders apply what they learn and go out with their efforts in making disciples, they soon find themselves and their churches with new followers and disciples. All because they were doing more of what Jesus told us all in the first place - that making disciples is our top priority.
When churches do a great job in making disciples, then a whole set of problems around their communities - whether these be village, cities, slums, or prison cells - suddenly have their match: living and breathing Christ's followers who bring the love of God right where it's needed the most. Then, it is the disciples who feed the hungry and take care of the widows. Then, it is the disciples who defend the orphans and intervene on behalf of the defenseless. Then, it is the disciples who reach out to the neighboring villages, towns, and areas. It's all possible because of the well prepared, well equipped, healthy and mature leadership that's in place.
The diagram to the right exemplifies what we do, starting from the top and going clockwise. Since 2000 A.D. when we launched our training program, we've been going around this Leadership Cycle numerous times in every country where we've worked and we've seen the model produce results time and time again. As we focus on making disciples by equipping and training pastors and church leaders we are excited to see The Church in action and are excited to see how the Lord confirms, time and again, that His promise stands true that He is with us until the end of the age when we do His bidding - making disciples of all nations.