A Disciple-Making Movement
I was seeing this young man step out in faith and begin to lead.
James could not stop talking. He was beaming with excitement, telling me how the things he had learned from my wife Lydia and me, he had shared with a brother and sister in a marriage crisis. He had seen God work in them in an amazing way.
James was thrilled at God’s grace—how he was able, through James, to bless this couple and bring such wonderful change. I listened, holding back tears, overjoyed that James, who I had spent years discipling, was now investing in other men and bearing fruit. I was seeing this young man step out in faith and begin to lead. This is multiplication!
I met both James and John within the first year of my ministry with COM. James and I connected because his girlfriend brought him to church. John and I met at a welcome dinner. He was here because his wife was getting her PhD, although he was not a student. Both James and John received the gospel early on.
James had a heart of fertile soil, and we began to disciple him and his girlfriend right away. It was an amazing privilege to walk with this young couple through understanding God, overcoming sin, and solving relational discord.
During much of that time, James lived with us, not only learning through teaching, but also through observation. Even so, there were times I thought at least in the relationship part, James and his then-girlfriend wouldn’t make it. But you wouldn’t guess that today. Their marriage is now an inspiration to many young couples!
James had become part of our family. God used us to raise him up in the Lord, and we began also to help him learn how to share this with others.
John has a different story. His heart’s soil was filled with rocks, and although he became a believer and attended church, he ended up backsliding from the fellowship of the church for years.
As he wandered, John started to get curious about Jehovah’s Witnesses. He also struggled with whether prayer could help with anything. There was a language barrier with his English skills, so it was hard for us to go very deep. However, I was persistent in loving him and trying my best to keep in touch.
Last May, I invited James and John to go with me on a wilderness trip. We went to the Smoky Mountains and backpacked for three nights, covering over 22 miles up and down mountains. We earned blistery feet, achy backs, and unforgettable memories of bear sightings, vistas, and amazing conversations.
During that trip, in the wonderful state of being disconnected from school, work, and social media, John started opening up to James. They talked for nearly the whole trip—with no language barrier. I was witnessing my prayers being answered as I heard James removing rocks from John’s heart, and I began to hear John develop a passion for God’s Word in only a few days!
The following month, James and John and their wives went on their own trip together. It was there that James began to see in John and his wife the same things that he and his wife had previously struggled with. As James and his wife began to minister to their new friends, tears flowed, hearts melted, and the Holy Spirit was working!
We are not here to make converts. We are here to see a disciple-making movement happen—and it’s happening!