I recently had the opportunity to get the insider scoop on Mark Beuving and Francis Chan's book Multiply: Disciples Making Disciples. Francis Chan.
Q. Tell us a little bit about Multiply and what you hope to accomplish with it?
A. In Matthew 28:19, Christ told his disciples to “go into all the world and make disciples,” and they did it. The result? The Christian faith flourished, and the world changed. In fact, it wasn’t long before these 12 simple and uneducated men stood in front of earthly kings who accused them of turning the world upside down! In Multiply, we help modern believers understand that, like the early disciples, they are responsible to obey Christ’s command to make disciples and that the Holy Spirit empowers them. We also provide simple, practical, helpful and personal materials to embolden their disciple-making efforts.
The format — 24 sessions of reading, reflection and weekly meetings — helps disciples make new disciples, new disciples who possess critical understanding, like basic knowledge of the Bible, and lives that reflect God’s teachings. Since sharing the journey is critical to discipleship, Multiply also helps readers/participants to develop real relationships with each other. Additionally, David Platt, author of New York Times best-seller Radical, and I also made 24 coaching videos, viewable at www.multiplymovement.com, to help those who are new to disciple-making. In the end, my goal for all of this material is that it makes disciples who make disciples, until the whole world knows that Jesus Christ is Lord.
Q. What might get in the way of Christians making disciples of Jesus, and how does Multiply help them to overcome the barriers?
A. There are many reasons why Christians don’t become disciple-makers; for example, they may not understand that Jesus’ command to the early disciples also applies to them. Through Multiply, we offer them truth and clarity: Jesus’ command to make disciples is as relevant to them as it was to the original 12. Christians may also feel inadequate, believing they simply aren’t equipped.
We help them to overcome this challenge in two ways. First, we remind them that their responsibility is obedience, not outcome. The Holy Spirit in them will bring about transformation in others. In fact, this is one of the ways that God brings glory to himself! Second, the book is broken into 24 straightforward sessions for disciple-makers to teach to others, which should reduce their anxiety. We also let readers know that they needn’t have all the answers.
Q. What part does relationship play in Multiply specifically and disciple-making generally?
A. Discipleship is about really living and sharing daily life together, but time gets way from all of us. As such, we recommend that readers/participants meet at least once per week to discuss the session’s material. During their time together, we ask them to focus on the questions and practical application of the learning.
We want those who utilize Multiply to really get down in the weeds and determine how they’ll move forward differently in the light of what they learned. We also ask and expect everyone who is discipled with this material to teach it to others, soon and often. In this way, each disciple multiplies the faith and adds to their own joy because while disciple-making can be a challenging it is also one of the most meaningful and fulfilling ways to express Christ’s love to others.
Q. What is covered in the book, and why is it important?
A. The sessions help readers/participants to understand some of the basic ideas and practices of discipleship. For example, they learn about ways to study the Bible, so each person can understand how they can know more about God. We also teach about motivation; for example, we write about the heart of the disciple-maker. Additionally, we work through some of the primary narratives of the Old and New Testaments; these sessions, help readers understand what was, what is and what will be. All of the material that you will find in Multiply helps disciples to rightly live and replicate their faith.