Ying served with his wife Grace as a missionary in an Asian city where they were able to start a new church every year, but in the year 2000, Ying’s assignment changed. He was asked to reach 20 million people in a corner of one of Asia’s many crowded countries. Ying’s new assignment was of such magnitude that ministry-as-usual would never succeed in reaching the teeming millions who were flooding into the cities and factories. In October 2000, as Ying sat in CPM (Church Planting Movements) training, his eyes and mind were fixed on a poster in the room: “How many of my people will hear the gospel today?” Ying knew that ministry as he had practiced it was not sufficient to win the millions of lost in this new area. Something had to change. As he prayed and meditated, the Lord brought the Great Commission to Ying’s mind:
18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations,baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (NIV)
From his study of the Great Commission he realized that Jesus had already given the strategy to produce the multiplication of disciples. Six words stood out in the Great Commission that produced the strategy:
(1) “Go, not come:” The Great Commission says we are to go, not invite people to come to us. We must go to where the lost are, and train the new believers to also go to the lost, into factories, homes, shops and neighborhoods.
(2) “Everyone, not some:” We must make disciples of all, not just a few. We typically choose whom we want to share the gospel with, trying to pre-judge who might accept it. But God said for everyone to share with everyone. We cannot predict who will believe and whom God will use to birth a movement.
(3) “Make disciples, not church members:” We must not satisfy ourselves with making converts and church members. Jesus commanded much more. He wants true disciples. And what do true disciples do? They obey Jesus’ command to witness to others and train these new believers to do the same. So every disciple must be a disciple-maker (trainer).
(4) “Baptize them:” as Ying thought on this he realized that baptism is like a person’s testimony, so he determined to train everyone to be able to share their faith story in 2 minutes or less.
(5) “Teach them:” when a disciple leads someone to Christ, they are to teach the new disciple what they have learned—not bring them back to a pastor or some other Bible teacher. Every disciple must be able to teach a new disciple.
(6) “To obey:” Ying determined that a major shift must be made from “knowledge-based” discipleship to “obedience-based” discipleship. It is not enough to know God’s word, but to obey it. The “three-thirds” process is a key part of teaching this shift to obedience.
Jesus promised that if we would do this, He would be with us always!