After Jesus rose from the grave, He left His followers with a simple command: “Go into all the world and make disciples” (see Matt. 28:19). The church should be known for this. If we are going to call ourselves followers of Jesus Christ, we should be making disciples.
But most Christians today are not known for making disciples. We have developed a culture where a minister ministers and the rest of us sit back and enjoy “church” from a comfortable distance. This is not what God intends for His church. Every Christian is called by God to minister. You are called to make disciples.
Multiply is designed as a simple resource that you can use to begin making disciples. Our prayer is that it will give you the confidence you need to step out in faith and disciple the people whom God has placed in your life.
The goals of the Multiply material are to help you understand the Scripture and to give you the tools to disciple others in this process. We have a responsibility to grow in our love and service to God and others. This is what it means to be the church. We are not merely responsible for our own spiritual well-being; we are called to minister to the people around us, teaching them to obey all the things that Jesus commands.
For this reason, there are two guidelines we ask you to follow when using this material. Obviously, we can’t force you to use this curriculum in a specific way, but it’s good for you to know the heart behind Multiply.
1. Teach what you learn. This material is not meant to be read, but to be taught. There are plenty of other Bible studies you can do if you just want to absorb more information. The emphasis of Multiply is to get you in the habit of passing on the knowledge you gain.
2. Share life, not just information. The Multiply process is meant to be highly relational. True discipleship involves deep relationships. Jesus didn’t simply lead a weekly Bible study. He lived life with His disciples and taught through actions as well as words. While this requires a much deeper commitment, it is the only way to truly make disciples.
God wants us to live, serve, and process truth in the context of a community. You will encounter many difficult questions and life-changing truths in the weeks ahead. Working together with other people will be invaluable as you seek to sort out what the Bible is saying and how God wants that truth to play out in your life.
Discipleship by definition requires a leader and followers. This material is designed for a leader and a disciple to work through together. This doesn’t mean that the leader needs to be old and completely mature, or that the disciple needs to be a full-fledged novice. We’re all at varying stages of maturity, and we all need the people around us to help guide us toward Christlikeness. But ideally, you will either lead another person through this material or be guided through it by a more mature Christian. The goal is that once you’ve walked through the material, you can turn around and guide someone else through it. In fact, you are encouraged to guide others as you are learning. Don’t wait until you have completed it all before teaching others what you learn.
God wants us to be talking about Him all throughout the week. Discipleship is all about living life together rather than just one structured meeting per week. However, it’s shocking how quickly time gets away from us, so it’s good to establish at least one regular meeting time each week. Without a little bit of structure, our good intentions often don’t result in action. At the core of the Multiply material are weekly sessions, which involve study guides and videos.
Every week you will work through a session of the study guide. These study guides will help you reflect on biblical truths and how those truths should shape your life. Some of the sessions focus on key concepts related to discipleship—what it means to be a disciple, how the Bible is meant to be studied, how we help the people around us live in obedience to Jesus, etc. Other sessions focus on important biblical concepts and major developments in the biblical storyline—creation, the fall, God’s covenant with Abraham, the life and death of Jesus Christ, etc. In each of these sessions you will read sections of Scripture and think through the truths presented and their implications for your life and ministry. The goal is to understand what the Bible is saying and allow that truth to transform your thought process and lifestyle.
Each study-guide session includes a number of questions that will challenge you to think about the material you have covered. These questions can also be used to structure the time you spend meeting with your disciple(s)/discipler(s). When you work through the study guide on your own, you can read through the material and answer the questions. When you meet with your partner(s), however, you can simply jump from one question to the next, sharing your answers and addressing any other thoughts or questions your study raised. If you are taking someone else (or a small group) through this material, don’t feel any pressure to know more than everyone else. Knowledge isn’t the point. Instead, start a discussion on the material in the study guides (this is where the questions come in handy). We all “know” things that have no practical bearing on our lives, so the more you can make your discussion practical and applicational, the better.Each of these weekly sessions is available for free download at multiplymovement.com so that you can take as many people through this material as possible without putting a financial strain on anyone.
Each session also includes a video (roughly five minutes long). You can find these videos here on the website. The videos are designed for the leaders. If you are guiding another person through the material, the videos will coach you on how to truly “disciple” someone through these truths. Ideally, you will first work through the study guide session and answer all the questions. You may want to print a copy of the lesson or write your answers in a separate notebook. Then you will watch the video and take notes on how you want to guide your disciple(s) through the session. (It shouldn’t be problematic if your disciple wants to watch the videos as well, but the videos are directed toward the leaders.)
Each person will be approaching this material from a unique position and in a unique setting. So structure your weekly meetings according to your specific needs and restraints. If you are leading your meetings, be sure to spend time talking through the material you covered for that week. The questions in the study guide sessions are designed to guide your discussion, but you may come up with a number of other important issues to address.
As important as covering the material is, make sure that you don’t stop there. God’s Word is meant to change our lives; James says that if all we do is hear the Word but never put it into practice, then we are deceiving ourselves (James 1:22). In many ways, it’s better to not know His commands than to know and ignore them. Don’t fall into the trap of studying the Bible without doing what it says. Take time to share prayer requests, discuss personal sins and struggles, and hold each other accountable to living out the truth of God’s Word.
Being a disciple of Jesus Christ means that we learn from Him, fellowship with Him, and obey everything He commands us. We study the Bible to learn about who God is, who we are, and what God is doing in our world. The Bible compels us to join God in what He is doing in and around us. Studying the Bible is important, but the goal is never knowledge for the sake of knowledge.
As you work through this material, you should be looking to change. Being a disciple of Jesus means that we are being transformed into His image. God wants to change us so much that it intrigues others. This gives us the opportunity to tell them about the God who is transforming us. Teaching others about Christ is essential to being one of Jesus’s disciples. As we teach others to love and obey Jesus, we are fulfilling His command to make disciples. Your goal should be to train up other followers of Jesus who are even more committed, talented, and equipped than you are. Whether you guide others through this material or use some other means to teach them to be followers of Jesus, make it your goal to spend your life raising up followers who will give everything for the glory of God.