Here are (some? All? of) the basic things that have to happen for the Kingdom to spread. These functions are intentionally written “agnostic” of church or mission structures, and cultural structures. They are also intentionally written as close to the bone as possible, devoid of any flesh, skin or muscle let alone makeup, jewelry or brand-branded clothing.
- People must come to know Jesus. They can’t follow someone they’ve never heard of.
- People must come to confess him as Lord and choose to follow Him.
- People must follow Jesus with other followers: disciples gathering become disciples gathered, in charity toward each other.
- People must, individually and together, be a blessing to the communities of people around them who are not yet followers.
- People must, individually and together, through both deed and word, be a witness to the communities around them and draw others to follow Jesus; this may require making a long-term investment (“sending,” in all its various forms) across community boundary lines.
- People must be willing to endure suffering and persecution for the sake of following Jesus.
- People must pass on to other followers what they themselves have learned.
Some will note that I have said nothing in this about disciple-making movements, or churches, or agencies, or translations, etc. All of these are just tools and strategies we use to accomplish these functions. Some are adopted because of speed and sustainability; others are adopted because of the necessity of translating the Gospel across linguistic and cultural boundaries so that step (1) above can be accomplished.