Discipleship is the start of what we do not the end

In Matthew 9:37‑38, Jesus tells us the key to a great harvest of many people is to pray for more workers. The more prayer, the more workers, the more workers, the greater the harvest. It’s a simple equation.

But to shed more light on this equation it’s important to go back to the time when Jesus first uttered these words to His disciples. He actually said this to them on two different occasions, repeating Himself to them and to us for emphasis (Matt. 9:37-38; Luke 10:2). 

Now many church leaders have used these words to challenge believers to get out of the pews and into the fields. And that’s right but, when these words were spoken there were only Jesus and His few disciples facing the entire world population. The question is simple; Where did they expect the answer to these prayers to come from? When they heard Jesus tell them to ask the Lord for more workers what in their mind would be the source of these workers? The workers for the harvest must come from the harvest. There can be no other intent in the mind of Jesus or His disciples.

Each new convert is a worker…immediately.

Starting in the harvest, an individual begins a journey of “becoming a disciple and making disciples” and then on to a place where they are meaningfully engaged in a specialised ministry, reflecting God’s unique gifting and calling on their lives. For many this will be worked out in the local church but for some, this will mean being a pastor, a church planter or a movement leader. This will close the circle of raising up leaders from the harvest for the harvest, providing for a much more extensive harvest beyond the shadow of just one church. If we were to outwork what Jesus initated and continue to use a farming analogy, then we would be:

This process is not merely a responsibilty of the church, it is the church. Are we really followers of Jesus according to the New Testament if we are not producing disciplemaking leaders? The local church must stop farming out its most essential role to others and start becom­ing the multiplication movement God always intended it to be. Existing Church leaders must begin to see that every person involved in a local church is in the Leadership Farm System. They must ask themselves of every person they come into contact with, “What is the next important step for this person toward a fuller expression of their unique place in the Kingdom of God?” Then they must be prepared to ensure this person moves into the next level of development.

Purpose of a Leadership Farm System:: To generate a movement by mobilising organic leadership development within local churches resulting in spontaneous growth and multiplication.

Key Assumptions of a Leadership Farm System:

1. All healthy disciples, leaders and churches are intended to reproduce.

2. Ready‑made leaders don’t fall from heaven, they are grown on earth.

3. The best training model is hands‑on ministry involvement with a personal coach/mentor.

4. Fruitful ministry flows from who you are as well as what you do.

5. The Kingdom of God is much more than one church or one movement.

6. Church multiplication is the best and most natural means of reaching the lost.

Core Values of a Leadership Farm System:

1. Proactive faith and prayer.

2. Life transformation through gospel penetration.

3. Simple obedience to Jesus.

4. Cultural relevance and excellence.

5. Growth and development through relationship (one-on-one and small group dynamics).

6. Simple and transferable strategy.

7. Releasing momentum through spontaneous multiplication.

The Leadership Farm System is designed to prepare church leaders with practical ministry experience in, with, and by a healthy growing local church. It’s designed to continue the  momentum by multiplying reproducible Leadership Farm Systems. Its goal is to saturate an entire city, region or country with fresh missional churches. The Leadership Farm System is used to increase the quality of church leaders as well as the quantity. The strategy is not only to increase the production of churches, but to increase the capacity of production as well, thus providing for a much more extensive harvest beyond the shadow of just one church.

Authors: Robert Logan. Neil Cole, Colin Noyes

Related Resources:

As You Go … Make Disciples (Printed Version) https://www.resourcezone.com.au/product/as-you-go-make-disciples-hard-copy/

As You Go … Make Disciples (Downloadable PDF) https://www.resourcezone.com.au/product/as-you-go-make-disciples-pdf/

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