In our last post, we discovered the second shift to Jesus-style disciple making: from going to church to going to lost people. In this post, we’re going to discover Shift #3. And whereas the first shift asked, Who are we? here, we continue exploring the question, How do we live?
As disciples of Jesus, we introduce lost people to Jesus and invite them to trust and follow Him which is expressed through baptism.
“Baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” – Jesus (Matthew 28:19)
Here’s our problem: The average church member in North America is not introducing lost people to Jesus and as a result isn’t baptizing lost people.
In Reviving Evangelism, Barna found that nearly 60% of professing Christians haven’t had even 3 spiritual conversations with a lost person in the last year. Barna also found nearly 50% of professing Christians between the ages of 22-36 believe that telling people about Jesus in order to convert them is wrong.
In other words, most Christians aren’t introducing lost people to Jesus and many young Christians flat out refuse to.
Some of you might be thinking, “Preston, I don’t invite the lost people I know to trust and follow Jesus. Yet, I do invite them to church. A professional minister at my church can do a better job than I can at introducing them to Jesus and inviting them to trust and follow Him.”
In my opinion, inviting lost people to church where a professional can introduce them to Jesus and baptize them isn’t wrong. But invest-and-invite is just one tactic to reach lost people. Many people act as if it is the only or the most effective tactic.
The reality is, exclusively using attractional models, strategies, and tactics to reach the lost isn’t as effective as you might think.
According to World Christian Trends, in North America, it costs the church $1.5 million per baptism.
In other words, if all churches took the money they use to buy land, build buildings, hire a staff, create an experience, market their experience, and run programs to retain members and then divide that by the number of people who are baptized, it would come out to roughly $1.5 million per baptism.
Friends, the tactics we’re primarily using aren’t nearly as effective as every single follower of Jesus living a lifestyle of introducing lost people to Jesus and inviting them to trust and follow Him. It’s what Jesus did, it’s what His 12 disciples did, and it’s what led to the exponential explosion of disciples being made by the 1st century church.
Restoration of Jesus-Style Disciple Making
We’ve taken the beautiful, life-giving adventure of introducing lost people to Jesus and baptizing them out of the hands of the ordinary follower of Jesus and reserved it for professionals.
Every follower of Jesus deserves to be empowered to make disciples. You were created for spiritual multiplication. Every member is a disciple maker!
I believe if we want to see our nation discipled then we need a disciple-making revolution. A disciple-making reformation. My Restoration Movement brothers and sisters, we need a restoration of Jesus-style disciple making!
If we want to return to Jesus-style disciple making, then we must shift from professionals reaching the lost to everyone reaching the lost.
Shift 3: From professionals reaching the lost to everyone reaching the lost
What would happen if every person who attends a worship gathering on a Sunday began to introduce the lost people in their spheres of influence to Jesus? If the professionals didn’t just do the reaching and baptizing, but they developed everyone to reach and baptize? What if our bathtubs, hot tubs, pools, and lakes became our new baptistries? Just imagine, what would happen if every follower of Jesus lived a lifestyle of baptizing?
Church members pay professionals to baptize people. Disciple makers baptize people.
How do we start to make this shift?
If you want to make the shift of introducing lost people to Jesus but don’t know practically how to get started, here’s one tool to help you.
The Conversation Quadrant (Adapted from Contagious Disciple Making)
Why the Conversation Quadrant? The purpose of the Conversation Quadrant is to help you naturally introduce lost people to Jesus.
What is the Conversation Quadrant? The Conversation Quadrant shows you the natural progression of conversations from casual to meaningful to spiritual to introducing someone to Jesus.
How do I use the Conversation Quadrant?
First, get a piece of paper. Title it “Conversation Quadrant.” Draw an x and y axis. On the top left quadrant write “Casual.” On the top right side write “Meaningful.” On the bottom right side write “Spiritual.” And on the bottom left side write “Jesus.”
Here are examples of questions that relate to these types of conversations.
- Casual conversation example: “What did you do this weekend?”
- Meaningful conversation example: “What are a couple of people or things in your life that are really important to you?”
- Spiritual conversation example: “What’s your spiritual journey in life been like?”
- Jesus conversation example: “Jesus has really changed my life. There was a time in my life when… Would you be interested in getting some of your friends together and discovering who Jesus is?”
Second, think about where you are in your relationship with the people you are going to interact with from your Go List. Write their names down in the quadrant you are currently at with them.
Third, pray and ask God to fill you with His Spirit and help you have the boldness to move to the next type of conversation. Introduce them to Jesus and invite them to trust and follow Him as Lord. Once they have trusted in Jesus, immediately go and baptize them. If possible, invite their household or friend group to come watch and hear about Jesus.