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July 24 , 2007

The Making of Disciples


In 1973, while I was a lecturer at Makerere University, Kampala in Uganda, the attention of my wife Prisca was drawn at 10 a.m. one morning to a crying baby girl in a gutter, not far away from our house which was located at about one hundred metres from one of the female Halls of Residence. The baby was probably born to a student who did not want her and so threw her away. My dear wife picked her up, cleaned her, named her Lydia and rushed her to the Sanyu Baby Home. A few days afterwards we went to check on her and we were deeply grieved to hear that she had died. Those hours, the first of her life, that were spent in the gutter, without any care, had caused her infections that proved fatal. I have not been able to forget the incident. I have seen many people take decisions at evangelistic meetings and through personal witnessing. The truth is that very few of those people have continued in the Christian Way. Of those who have continued, only a few have matured rapidly to begin to minister to the Lord and to others. I, however, found that those who spent the most time with me seemed to make more rapid progress because they were receiving ministry all the time.

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I knew a missionary. He was a dear man of God and full of zeal. He preached everywhere for about nine years in a certain denomination. When he was forced by circumstances to return to his country, he left no team behind to continue his work. The evangelistic team that he had started "died" with his departure. Had he been successful ?
I know another missionary who was also keen on winning souls. He started an evangelistic centre. The Lord began to bless it. I even preached once in that centre. There were at least 300 people there that night. Forty-six people came forward to make a commitment to Christ. Then he left. Six months after he had left, the attendance dropped to 50, and within one year that centre was closed. It has not been reopened for five years. Was he successful?

I was the evangelist in an evangelistic campaign in our centre. The Lord moved that night. About 80 people came forward to receive the Lord. I asked the counsellors to come forward and counsel these people into the Kingdom of God. Twenty people came up quickly. Then another ten came up reluctantly. Then I was left on the stage with about 50 people with no more counsellors coming forward. There were at least 1000 believers in the assembly and at least 800 of them were present that night. The 80 deacons and deaconesses in the assembly had each counselled a number of people in the last four weeks and their hands were full with young converts. They did not feel that they should come and counsel some more, since that would mean that they could not give all of them individual attention. Why did none of the other 720 believers who were present come up? When I finally spoke sternly, some more of the deacons and deaconesses came up joylessly. It was a bad evening even though God had moved. Had I been successful in building up the assembly ? God had used me to get it started, but what had I done ? I had filled it with babies. Many had their heads filled with good teaching, but I had failed to teach them to make disciples. Sure enough, many were mature and others were maturing in the Christian Way. However, I had failed, not only to teach them to be disciples, but also to make disciples. The Lord had commanded me to make disciples who would make disciples. I was to teach disciples to mature and make other disciples. I was to encourage disciple-makers to become makers of disciple-makers. I had been unfaithful in making disciple-makers. I had failed the Lord.

This book is an attempt to meet the need of the call of the Lord to make disciples who will make disciples, who will make disciples, etc.

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