If we are sent to disciple every “nation” by training them to obey all His commands, then that would mean that we disciple a “nation” only when it is permeated by obedient disciples. Spontaneous reproduction of churches means the Holy Spirit moves a church to reproduce daughter churches on its own without outsiders pushing the process.

Theological speaking, the good soil needed for the gospel seed to take root and multiply is bad people, and lots of them.

We must focus on one people group, the one God has given us. He knew what kind of churches to plant and where.

The right steps will vary for each field but will always include teaching the converts first to obey Jesus’ basic commands.  Take the shortest route possible to start a real church – a group of believers in Christ dedicated to obeying His commands.

That’s the funny thing about God’s grace – He wants us to slop it over on the unworthy.

We must use the best people God gives us as the churches multiply, or the new disciples have no leadership at all.

To build up the Church as a living, reproducing body, the pastors and teachers are to train members of the church for the ministry, to edify the Body of Christ.

Timothy was instructed on how to work with newly planted churches and their elders.

 You have often heard me teach. Now I want you to tell these same things to followers who can be trusted to tell others. – 2 Timothy 2:2

We all want a good, strong ministry and when you know it is right for the local body to choose their own leaders, they will make mistakes and you will be disappointed.

We all have to learn to let the Holy Spirit integrate diverse ministries and gifts in the united body.

Education objectives will include educating the leader. Our education should seek only to edify the church in love.

Have you ever seen a mission pastors practicing herding rather than leading?  Where do you suppose pastors pick up the bad practice of herding others?

After affirming His deity and total authority on earth, Jesus commissioned His Church to make disciples who obey all His commands. His commands take priority over all other institutional rules.

Here are some simple basic commands given to us by Jesus that every new follower should memorize.

  • Repent and believe
  • Be baptized and continue in the new life it initiates
  • Love God and neighbour in a practical way
  • Celebrate the Lord’s supper
  • Pray
  • Give
  • Disciple others

Faith, repentance and immediate baptism of the entire family or group – no indication to make a decision – can be the norm. Repentance goes deeper than a decision – it is a permanent change brought about by God’s Spirit.

Healthy daughter churches need loving, edifying discipling relationships within themselves and with the mother church.

Each church should send workers to reproduce daughter churches. God promised to give apostles to every church.

The Holy Spirit flows readily through the bonds that exist between family members and close friends, so keeping new converts in a loving relationship with them is important.

Like a grain of wheat, each new church in a chain has the same potential to start the reproduction all over again. The growth of churches is compared to the growth and reproduction to that of plants. Like all other living creatures God has created, the Church has her own seed in herself to reproduce after her own kind.

Just as Paul plants, Apollos waters, and God gives the growth – we sow, water, weed, fertilize and fence the crop, but rely on the Church’s own God-given potential to reproduce.






There is a very narrow view on what evangelism means and what it looks like in the Bible.  Take a look at these descriptions.

 The Lord’s followers who had been scattered went from place to place, telling the good news. – Acts 8:4

Then he sent them to tell about God’s kingdom and to heal the sick. – Luke 9:2

Soon after this, Jesus was going through towns and villages, telling the good news about God’s kingdom. His twelve apostles were with him – Luke 8:1

It is either telling the good news, or telling about God’s Kingdom or both. Even though we only see the announcement part in these verses we know that these lead to an invitation to enter that Kingdom by faith and repentance.

In fact, it is such a narrow view that it plays only a fraction in the life of the Church.  Paul in fact had to refuse certain roles just so He could focus on evangelism.

Christ did not send me to baptize. He sent me to tell the good news without using big words that would make the cross of Christ lose its power. – 1 Corinthians 1:17

It also indicates that apologetics did not play a big part in evangelism either even though Paul did try to encourage people to respond.

What happened to those wise people? What happened to those experts in the Scriptures? What happened to the ones who think they have all the answers? Didn’t God show that the wisdom of this world is foolish?  We know what it means to respect the Lord, and we encourage everyone to turn to him. God himself knows what we are like, and I hope you also know what kind of people we are. – 1 Corinthians 5:20; 2 Corinthians 5:11

Christian service or action or protests against injustices do not play a part in evangelism either.

 A lot of people were now becoming followers of the Lord. But some of the ones who spoke Greek started complaining about the ones who spoke Aramaic. They complained that the Greek-speaking widows were not given their share when the food supplies were handed out each day. The twelve apostles called the whole group of followers together and said, “We should not give up preaching God’s message in order to serve at tables. – Acts 6:1-2


Knowing us well

If our work among an unreached people group proves that our intentions are indeed good for the people – then we know we have been always straightforward about our identity as servants of Jesus Christ.  And as some make decisions to become followers of Christ, it will not come as a surprise to the community as those things gradually are made known.

“… but as servants of God we have commended ourselves in every way: through great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, as unknown, and yet are well known; as dying, and see—we are alive; as punished, and yet not killed” – 2 Corinthians 6:4,9

Power encounter

The term “power encounter” comes from missionary anthropologist Alan Tippett. In his 1971 book, People Movements in Southern Polynesia, Tippett observed that in the South Pacific the early acceptance of the gospel usually occurred when there was an “encounter” demonstrating that the power of God is greater than that of the local pagan deity. This was usually accompanied by a desecration of the symbol(s) of the traditional deity by its priest or priestess, who then declared that he or she rejected the deity’s power, pledged allegiance to the true God, and vowed to depend on God alone for protection and spiritual power.

At such a moment, the priest or priestess would eat the totem animal (e.g., a sacred turtle) and claim Jesus’ protection. Seeing that the priest or priestess suffered no ill effects, the people opened themselves to the gospel.1 These confrontations, along with those classic biblical power encounters (e.g., Moses vs. Pharaoh, Ex. 7-12, and Elijah vs. the prophets of Baal, 1 Ki. 18) formed Tippett’s view of power encounter.

According to this view, Jesus’ entire ministry was a massive power confrontation between God and the enemy. The ministry of the apostles and the church in succeeding generations is seen as the continuing exercise of the “authority and power over all demons and all diseases” given by Jesus to his followers (Lk. 9:1). Contemporary stories about such encounters come from China, Argentina, Europe, the Muslim world, and nearly everywhere else where the church is growing rapidly.

I believe Jesus expects power demonstrations to be as crucial to our ministries as they were to his (Lk. 9:1, 2). However, any approach that advocates power encounter without giving adequate attention to the other two encounters—commitment and truth—is not biblically balanced.

Typically, Jesus started by teaching, followed by a power demonstration, then a return to teaching, at least for the disciples (e.g., Lk. 4:31ff.; 5:1ff., 17ff.; 6:6ff., 17ff., etc.). Appeals for commitment to the Father or to himself appear both implicitly and explicitly throughout his teaching.

His appeal for commitment to at least the first five apostles (Peter, Andrew, James, John—Lk. 5:1-11—and Levi—Lk. 5:27-28) occurred after significant power demonstrations. Once his followers had successfully negotiated their commitment encounter, their subsequent growth was primarily a matter of learning and practicing more truth.

First century Jews, like most people today, were very concerned about spiritual power. Paul said they sought power signs (1 Cor. 1:22). Jesus’ usual practice of healing and deliverance from demons soon after entering a new area (e.g., Lk. 4:33-35, 39; 5:13-13; 6:6-10, 18-19, etc.) may be seen as his way of approaching them at the point of their concern. When he sent out his followers to the surrounding towns to prepare the way for him, he commanded them to use the same approach (Lk. 9:1-6; 10:1-9).

Jesus’ reluctance to do miraculous works merely to satisfy those who wanted him to prove himself (Mt. 12:38-42; 16:1-4) would, however, seem to indicate his power demonstrations were intended to point to something beyond the mere demonstration of God’s power. I believe that he had at least two more important goals. First, Jesus sought to demonstrate God’s nature by showing his love. As he said to Philip, “If you have seen me, you have seen the Father” (Jn. 14:9). He freely healed, delivered, and blessed those who came to him and did not retract what he had given, even if they did not return to thank him (Lk. 17:11-19). He used God’s power to demonstrate his love.

Second, Jesus sought to lead people into the most important encounter, the commitment encounter. This is clear from his challenge to the Pharisees when they demanded a miracle, that the people of Nineveh who repented would accuse the people of Jesus’ day who did not do likewise (Mt. 12:41). Experiencing God’s power may be both pleasant and impressive, but only a commitment to God through Christ really saves.

Charles Kraft




Power Encounter

Power encounters and missionaries

Power Encounters

Power Encounter

‘Power Encounters’ Bring Discipleship Results

The Power Encounter


Communication of the missionary

The message is not really theirs.  The missionaries did not originate it.  They were not there when it was first given, nor are they a member of the culture in which the message was communicated. They know that they must be diligent to present themselves —

Study and do your best to present yourself to God approved, a workman [tested by trial] who has no reason to be ashamed, accurately handling and skillfully teaching the word of truth. – 2 Timothy 2:15

In relationship to the biblical message, the missionary is simply a messenger, an ambassador – a secondary, never a primary source.

First, they want to communicate Christ in such a way that the people will understand, repent and believe the gospel.  Second, they want to commit the message  —

The things [the doctrine, the precepts, the admonitions, the sum of my ministry] which you have heard me teach [a]in the presence of many witnesses, entrust [as a treasure] to reliable and faithful men who will also be capable and qualified to teach others. – 2 Timothy 2:2

— commit the message in culturally relevant terms that only indigenous leaders can fully understand.

Michael Frost gives an example of preaching the Gospel to the Zanaki people of Zimbabwe using Revelation 3:20 as the text. 12 He explains that when we visit someone in British culture, their door will be closed and probably locked and the inhabitants safely and privately inside. You therefore have to ring the bell or knock loudly to gain entry. In Zanaki homes, however, there are no doors. If you visit a friend you simply call out loudly at the doorway. Your voice would be recognised and you’d be welcomed in. In that culture the only people who knock are thieves because they do not want to be identified! If, having knocked, they heard noises inside they’d disappear rapidly. Revelation 3:20 speaks of knocking and calling out, so a message contextualised to Zanaki culture might emphasise the calling out. Sadly the Victorian missionaries who first sought to evangelise this tribe emphasised the knocking and by doing so made Jesus out to be a thief!



Worldview, Scripture and Missionary Communication


The promised blessing


“For Abraham will certainly become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth will be blessed through him.”  –  Genesis 18:18

In the initial call and promise, God told Abram that he would become a great nation.  In the second announcement, mentioned in the verse above, the promise seems almost identical.  But the next verse adds that God would bring it about, referring to the promise.

In the drama of the third announcement in Genesis 22 we find a significant shift.  Abraham obeyed God by offering his son Isaac.  No longer is the promise of blessing to be fulfilled during the lifetime of Abraham, but instead, in the days of his children yet to come.  God promised this with the surprising gravity of solemnly swearing with an oath.  The purpose of the oath was to assure future generations that God would not fail to fulfill His promise to bless all nations, and that He would do this amazing thing through them.

God gave the promise a fourth time, this time directly to Isaac,  In the fifth declaration, God promised Jacob that his descendants would be numerous. At the time, Jacob may have thought that the geographic expansion was nothing more than populating the immediate land of promise.