Am I a disciple who makes disciples?

Rick Burdett
October 21 2022

At the Outreach Canada Team Retreat last April 2022, our team from across Canada met for the first time since April 2019. All 40+ who attended were eager to be together. In some unexpected ways our teams grew closer and more committed during the pandemic years; it was great to be physically present. Special.  

At the end of the retreat, literally the last of our team to share, God blessed us with the testimony of one of our team members shared how God was using her to make disciples - who were making disciples – who were making disciples. I was aware this was happening (she reported having helped start a number of small new house churches over the past 20 months who have likewise started over 135 new small house churches) but hearing her share created a deep stirring in my soul. Special. 

Following the retreat, I discovered many others who heard her speak, also felt the Holy Spirit moving in their hearts and minds. We all wanted to know how this was happening. This team member, a missionary to Asia, stranded in Canada for the past three years (pandemic) was doing this mostly via Zoom in Asia and in person here in Vancouver. Humble, gracious, smart, loving, fun are words that describe her. What resonated most about her that afternoon was above those Christ-like qualities she is committed to making disciples - who make disciples - who make disciples. Very special.   

I was raised in a Christian environment. I vividly remember at age 12, deciding to accept Jesus as my Savior. I was blessed to experience and remember knowing the Holy Spirit had come into me. It took me time to understand the Spirit gave me two spiritual gifts to use to serve God. The gift of faith and the gift of pastor. Both gifts are important to me. Pastoring allows me to somewhat (hopefully) intelligently share what I know about God, Jesus and the need for all to come to faith in Jesus; Faith gave me the courage to leave corporate life for the insecurity of pastoral life, to get my Counseling master’s degree from Phoenix Seminary and to move to Vancouver, Canada when God impressed on me the spiritual needs here are overwhelming. (there are countless other examples how God continues leading me by faith) 

I believe God has used me in many ways to help make disciples. I think about and accept the Great commission (Matthew 28:19-20). Most Christians believe similar thoughts. God is now showing me a vital, aspect missing from my life and my work. Unlike my dear team member note above, my focus has been to invest in making disciples, but it hasn’t been to make disciples - who make disciples - who make disciples. I have come under deep conviction that this must change. Along with this conviction is understanding that this has been the calling all along; I have failed to understand it or embrace it. This is yet another moment, like many others, I need to repent from and seek to change my view and goal of the Biblical mandate given to us to go and make disciples.  

Have I failed in my years of ministry? Satan tries to make me to think so. But I don’t think God sees me this way. I am reminded by the encounter a gifted (“eloquent”) Bible teacher named Apollos had with a husband and wife known as Priscilla and Aquila in Acts 18:24-28. Verse 26 reads, “He (Apollos) began to speak boldly in the synagogue, but when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately.” Apollos the bold and gifted defender of the gospel was always learning, in this case at the feet of husband and wife lay leaders at a church in Ephesus.  

I love the family of God! I love God’s grace; I need it having made many mistakes in my life. What keeps me going is knowing that God somehow uses me in my imperfect ways to make a difference in some people’s lives. I have seen a more accurate way of making disciples and I am excited about it. I am in my 70’s now, can I change? I hope so and am praying toward that end knowing I need God’s help to do so.  

I do not want to do this alone, nor do I think I can. At Outreach Canada, we have embraced a remarkably simple method for making disciples - who make disciples – who make disciples. It is a system used around the world called the Discovery Bible System (DBS). This amazing woman I wrote about earlier has been using DBS for two years now. I’m told that since our April OC Staff retreat, that from the groups she sparked into existence, another 30+ groups have started in Canada and Asia.  

We have men and women at OC who have been working in the disciple making movements around the world for many years. One such couple, Murray and Carol Moerman, wrote about this disciple making process in an article I want to share with you here. 

God has given me the desire to be both a practitioner and an equipper for making disciples. I am excited about what God is already doing and will continue doing through systems like DBS. It’s very easy to find out more and make DBS a part of your life. I encourage you to ask God if something like DBS is for you. I hope you will join me wherever you are in considering our calling to make disciples – who make disciples – who make disciples. I consider it a privilege to partner with you and would love to have a chat about what God is showing me.  

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