Today, we release the newest book from GCD Books—Brandon Smith’s Make Mature Multiply: Becoming Fully-Formed Disciples of Jesus. You can buy a digital copy from the GCD Bookstore for $3.99 or get paperback for $9.99. Here’s an excerpt from the editor’s preface: As a new Christian, I was told that being a disciple of Jesus could be summed up in his own words—“If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me” (Mk. 8:34). While this statement is certainly a foundational truth of being a disciple, is this it?
In one sense, yes. Jesus could have stopped there and we could aim to model our lives after the self-sacrifice and humility he displayed on the cross. There would be nothing wrong with that. But he didn’t stop there. Scripture gives us more. Much more.
The good news of the gospel is not only for self-application; it is for proclamation. It’s meant to be shared. A disciple follows Jesus, invites others to follow him, and then trains them how to repeat the process. Simply put, disciples are called to make, mature, and multiply disciples.
First, we are called to make disciples. This means that we evangelize, we share the good news. Making disciples is about telling strangers, friends, family, and anyone else who doesn’t know it yet that Jesus Christ is their King, their Savior, their God.
Next, we are called to mature disciples. So we don’t tell people about Jesus and move along. We don’t say, “I’m glad you believe! Enjoy yourself.” Maturing disciples is teaching them to obey all that Jesus has commanded (Matt. 28:20). It’s the process of sanctification—being made holy, becoming more and more like Jesus. We rely on God. We devour and dwell on the things of God found in the Scriptures. We pray. We kill sin in our lives. We serve others. We take “WWJD?” seriously by remembering what he actually did. These are but a few characteristics of a mature disciple. We model these things and we teach others to model them.
Finally, we multiply disciples. Mature disciples don’t keep the good news of the gospel to themselves. Mature disciples, by the Holy Spirit’s power, take Jesus to others. We are evangelized to evangelize. We are loved to love. We are forgiven to forgive. We are served to serve. We are redeemed to point to the Redeemer. We complete the cycle of discipleship by making disciples who make disciples who make disciples who make…
This is not a perfect process, but it doesn’t have to be. Jesus was and is perfect so that you don’t have to be. You can’t save anyone, but you can show others the One who can. The Holy Spirit is with you (Jn. 14:25-26; 1 Cor. 10:13). My prayer is that this book will help you become a fully-formed disciple of Jesus who makes, matures, and multiplies fully-formed disciples of Jesus.
These chapters have been adapted from articles that originally appeared at GCDiscipleship.com. We like to think of this book as a “best of GCD” compilation. I speak for every contributor in this book when I say: we hope you see the glory of Christ on every page, and that you are so captivated by the beauty of the gospel that you can’t help but take it to the ends of the earth.
Brandon D. Smith is Executive Director of Gospel-Centered Discipleship and serves in editorial roles for The Criswell Theological Review and The Council on Biblical Manhood & Womanhood. He is proud to be Christa’s husband and Harper Grace’s daddy. Follow him on Twitter: @BrandonSmith85