The 17th APBY Conference is themed Making and Multiplying Disciples to champion the call of Jesus for every believer to be a disciplemaker in the context of the local church—wherever God leads and calls. MD2 is rooted in 2 Timothy 2:2, “And what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also” (ESV).
The plenary sessions were centered on the gospel of Jesus as the bedrock on how we can make and multiply disciples of all nations. This main thing, as 1 Corinthians 15:3 would often remind us, that the gospel we received is not just applicable in the past (salvation) but even in the present (sanctification) as we grow in Christlikeness, in discipling the nations and the very thing that will save (glorification) us when Christ comes.
Plenary session 1 started with Gospel Clarity (Romans 1:1-17). In order to make and multiply disciples that is God-glorifying, Christ-centered and Spirit-empowered, disciples need to have a 20/20 vision of what the gospel is. We need to know the realities of the gospel on who God is, what He has done through Christ, and why the death and resurrection of Christ is so important in the gospel message. When the realities of the gospel are understood, we respond by allowing the Holy Spirit to transform us from the inside out. Finally, we commit to God to advance the gospel of Jesus to the lost, to the unreached people groups and to the unregenerate flock inside our local churches.
Plenary session 2 is Gospel Mission (Luke 5:1-11). In light of the finished work of Jesus on the cross and the empty tomb, we respond to Him by letting go the best things and opportunities in life. It demands a daily dying and denying of one’s dreams, ambition, plans. And starting to pursue God’s holy dream, ambition and plan for every believer. That’s to become a fisher of men: a disciplemaker.
Plenary session 3 is Gospel Commission (Matthew 28:16-20). Pursuing God’s mission to make disciples can be a daunting task but Jesus provides us two massive and powerful bookends that will make His commission possible. First, His authority gives us courage and boldness to evangelize, establish disciples in the faith and equip them to entrust the gospel to faithful men. Second, His presence is our assurance that we make disciples not in our own strength, power, wisdom, or skills but in the presence of Christ, that is in the Holy Spirit.
Lastly, plenary session 4 is Gospel Power. None of our disciplemaking efforts, methodologies, strategies, and plans will work apart from the empowerment of the Spirit. To make and multiply disciples is never our plan. It is God’s plan to reconcile people back to Himself through Jesus Christ, transferring His people from the domain of darkness to the Kingdom of His Son. Therefore, we desperately need the power of the Holy Spirit. We need the Spirit’s wisdom, leading, and enablement to go to places where the gospel needs to be preached—both for Christians and the lost.
Disciplemaking is wrapped in the gospel of Jesus. It is the very thing that marinates and shapes our little hearts to embrace the God-given mission of discipling people all for His glory, for our joy, and for the joy of all nations.
by Franco Ferrer