A summary and discussion questions are below:
Patterson’s article brings out two elements of the Great Commission: 1) that to disciple a “nation” we should strive to see it permeated by obedient disciples organized into multiple churches that are growing and reproducing, and not just work for the existence of one church among a people, 2) that the curriculum of discipleship is to teach obedience to the commands of Christ: Repent and believe, be baptized, love your neighbor, celebrate the Lord’s Supper, pray, give, and disciple others.
Patterson also introduces some helpful ministry principles:
- Limit your area of responsibility to one people or community rather than a country or complex city.
- Encourage new believers to immediately pass along the truth of the gospel to their relationship circle rather than waiting for extensive training.
- Do not have a public worship service until local leaders can lead the services.
- Expect new churches to work toward multiplying from the beginning and not wait until some future maturity as a church.
Questions for Discussion and Reflection:
- How will focusing on a believer’s obedience to Christ’s commands create a different kind of disciple than focusing on his understanding of Biblical doctrines?
- Why would you encourage a new believer to stay closely connected to his non-believing friends and family when it is often friends and family that can cause the most persecution and give the most persuasion to give up on new faith?
- What would you do differently if your goal was to create multiplying churches and not just starting one church?