Don’t make discipleship too complicated

March 31, 2021

I have a tendency to complicate things. God wired me to learn and think. The further I get from my junior high years, the more I grow to appreciate that about myself.

God also called me to be a missionary. I love that call. I moved the family, learned the language and loved our host culture.

Still after all of that, I felt the need to complete a doctorate in missiology with a dissertation title that would tie the tongue of the apostle Paul. Like I said, I tend to complicate things.

That is why I will never forget the first time I met Ying Kai. You might have heard of him. He and the late Steve Smith wrote the book titled, “T4T: A Discipleship Re-revolution.”

Ying Kai and I were in missionary training together. I had spent weeks writing my strategy for our unreached people group. It was 14 pages long and I was more than 20 pages proud.

I asked Ying Kai to tell me about his strategy. He said, “It’s simple: pray, share and train others to pray and share.” I pressed him for more details. He assured me that there was nothing more to it.

Four years later, our team was still struggling to communicate the gospel. Ying Kai had seen more than 100,000 people come to faith.

Albert Einstein said, “The definition of genius is taking the complex and making it simple.” It doesn’t take a genius to complicate things. It takes genius to take complicated things and make them simple. I have a doctorate in missiology. Ying Kai is a genius.

For the new believer, discipleship really isn’t any more complicated than helping them learn how to pray, share and train others to pray and share.

Sometimes we complicate discipleship.

Now, I don’t mean to oversimplify the complex issues often faced in discipleship. That would simply be making the same mistake in the opposite direction. But for the new believer, discipleship really isn’t any more complicated than helping them learn how to pray, share and train others to pray and share.

  1. Pray
    Help new believers make a short list of their lost family members and friends. Then help them pray without ceasing. Prayer gives us boldness to attempt great things for God and faith to expect great things from God.
  2. Share
    Help them share the gospel, calling people to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. Acts of kindness can warm the human heart, but only the power of the gospel can change the heart of stone into a heart of flesh.
  3. Train new believers to pray and share
    Billy Graham once described his crusades as “personal evangelism on a mass scale.” Pray and share and you’ll get personal evangelism. Train new believers to pray and share and you’ll get evangelism on a mass scale.

Basic discipleship for new believers is not all that complicated. They simply need to know how to pray, share and train others to pray and share. It’s genius, really!

by Cris Alley  /  Strategic Focus Team  /  Baptist State Convention of North Carolina

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