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In my first of four years of graduate school, we were led by an upperclassman as we signed up for spiritual service on the campus of Southern Methodist University. About 15 men signed up to work on campus and only three of us stuck with it. Jody Dillow was our leader and trainer for campus ministry. We had several phenomenal experiences, but one thing we did was life-changing for me. We found a little prayer chapel at a local Methodist Church that was left open all night. About 10-15 students gathered weekly in that chapel at 10:00 for prayerful interaction, life on life, fellowship. My eyes were opened widely during those nights about what it means to make disciples of Jesus. Through Jody and these faithful young students, I really got it!
All four years of graduate school, I was highly educated in the process of discipleship. I’d never had so much fun and satisfaction in ministering to others in my life at that point. Making disciples out of college students is much easier than working with older adults, so over the years I got away from the primary thing Jesus had in mind for his serious followers. I knew a lot about it, but I fell into playing the role of a professional pastor with little emphasis upon discipleship.
THEN, about 8 years ago I was reawakened and recharged into focusing on what it means to make disciples. This is when we met Tamrat and Mulu. As an atheist, communist, Tamrat led efforts to build an army of 150,000 Ethiopians to overthrow the largest army in Africa. He built and held the army together through small cell groups. By the way, the communists learned these things from the methods of Jesus. After Tamrat was betrayed and sent to political prison for 12 years, Jesus found Tamrat in the 5th year of imprisonment. Tamrat understands small group discipleship better than anyone I’ve ever met.
SO, today Tamrat and I are committed to launching and training small group discipleship leaders. According to Jesus, this is his primary command and his best blueprint for changing people, communities, cities, and nations everywhere. It’s the key strategy Jesus offers for changing the world and it’s also the missing link within most spiritual organizations and movements around the world. TOMORROW, the best use of discipleship we’ve ever seen!