Jesus not only commanded his disciples to make disciples, in Matthew 10 and Luke 10 he also gave them his method for doing so. Neil Cole relates Jesus’ method as the 5 POP’s in his book, Organic Church. I’ve found these to be a very helpful framework on which to hang and a myriad of disciplemaking activities. I hope you will too.
1. Practice of Prayer – The church is conceived in heaven before it is born on earth. If we are going to see churches planted and reproduced, we must plead with the Lord of the Harvest for everything we need – guidance, opportunities, boldness, the words to say, signs and wonders following, etc. Organic Church Planting is not a formula that works according to predictable outcomes. It’s a partnership with God to carry out his Great Commission.
2. Pockets of People – The approach to church planting as presented in Scripture had entire households (oikoi) in view. An oikos is a web of relationships. Every person (except the Unibomber) has one. As disciplemakers, we need to intentionally consider who in our oikos needs to hear the saving message of Jesus and begin praying for them. If we’ve reached our oikos or been rejected by it, we should find another Pocket of People that will accept us and begin prayerfully reaching them.
3. Power of Presence – They say 90% of baseball is showing up. That’s the case with disciplemaking. We don’t have to hide from dark places; we must invade them with the confidence that “Where we go the King goes and where the King goes people bow.” If we partner with Jesus to make disciples we will find ourselves knee deep in the dirt of broken lives.
4. Person of Peace – In an oikos there is often a particular person that God has prepared the be the agent of the gospel for the rest of the group. This person is usually either the best person in the group such as with Cornelius in Acts 10 or the worst person such as with the Samaritan woman in John 4. We should look for this person. They will be receptive to the gospel at some point. Once they come to faith, we should equip them to reach the rest of their oikos. Their transformation will awaken others by demonstrating the saving power of the gospel.
5. People of Purpose – Once several in the oikos have been reached they should begin to gather as a spiritual family on mission for God. They should be taught to support and challenge each other to live in obedience to their king and to spread the knowledge of his kingdom reign into other oikoi.
As a parting shot, I want add a sixth POP – Probability of Pain. Disciplemaking is an act of war. Those who engage in it will experience the harship, hurt, and harm common to soldiers on active duty. Before we set out, we should count the cost associated with victory. If you can do anything else, you probably should.