Making Disciples - Part 5

What characteristics should we look for in tools we choose? (part 5)


Randy Pope

President of Life on Life Ministries



In the previous video I mentioned that there were many characteristics that make these tools so relevant in this day and age. Let me walk you through the four that I think are most vital and important to understand, and particularly this first one.

Of all the reasons why these tools are so effective, and whatever tool you pick, make sure it meets this characteristic. Whether it’s the same one we use or not doesn’t matter, but it’s this: That it is designed with the belief that God does the converting and He uses His Bible. That’s the tool He uses and wants us to use. It’s the Bible.

So, I’ll walk through that now in just a second, but let me tell you the other three.

  1. That the tools use multiple appointment conversations, as opposed to a single appointment presentation.
  2. The third is that the tool enables you to create an effective forum to address the questions that non-Christians are asking. So as culture changes and people think differently about God and faith and so forth, the questions that are relevant will change. Now there’s a handful of questions that are going to stay consistent regardless of culture, and those are the ones we’re going to work with and train and equip the most. But, you’ve got to have a forum to address the questions that the non-believer is asking. and the. Of them, is that just to make sure that they are respecting the tool is such, that allows you to respect the two greatest desires that a non-Christian has if they choose to investigate.
  3. The fourth is that people want privacy, and they want brevity. I’ll walk through those two again in the next video.

But first, what I’d like to do is hit this most important characteristic. That we’ve got to have a tool designed with the belief that God does the converting using his tool the Bible.

Ephesians 2:1 is an interesting text, and it says that we are dead. That we are all dead in our trespasses and sins. We have no ability on our own to be able to do anything spiritually, because we are dead people. Romans 3:10-12 makes it very clear that this moral ability that man had at creation has been lost in the Fall. As a result of that, there really is no one good. There’s none that seek for God. It makes it very, very clear. No one seeks for God. You see, salvation is the work of God. And I’m telling you, there’s nothing more important to understand if you’re going to be an effective disciple maker.

Romans 10:17 says very clearly that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. Faith comes by the word of God. In the book of second Timothy chapter three verse fifteen, it says that you have known the sacred writings from childhood that gives you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith, which is in Christ Jesus. So there we see very clearly that the Bible is used to change dead hearts and bring life by the Holy Spirit working. So, very importantly, whatever tools that we pick make sure they are focused on that very reality. To help you understand that I’m going to, I’m to tell you two stories. One is fictitious and the other is a true story. The first one has to do with the use of a knife and the second has to do with the use of a hook. Let me explain.

It’s very often that I talk to people who say to me, “Randy, I can’t really help this person. I can’t witness to this person. I can’t go any further with this person, because they don’t believe the Bible is God’s word. So I don’t have anywhere to begin. I mean, I there’s nothing I can do.”

I hear that and I say, “Wait, what do you mean there’s nothing you can do?”

And I illustrate this way. I’ll say to them, “Let’s imagine that I want to kill you (I know, just go with me. Its analogy you’ll remember). And so, I decide to catch you late one night outside somewhere. I grab from behind, throw you on the ground, and put my hand on your neck. And then I pull out of my jacket a foot long dagger. I raise that dagger up, and I say, “I’m gonna kill you.”

As you see that dagger, all of a sudden you go, “Oh, thank goodness!”

I say, wait, “What do you mean, thank goodness.”

“Well, Randy, I don’t know why, I just assumed you were going to pull out a gun and shoot me, which would kill me. But you know, I don’t know if you know this, but I don’t really believe in knives. I don’t think they cut, and I certainly don’t believe they kill. So, go ahead and stab me. I don’t care, but hurry. I got to get home to dinner, so let’s get this over with.

Now, what do you think I would do if I were a good murder? Well, you better believe I would just stab you.

I tell everybody I’m training about the use of God’s word. I say, “Always remember to go back to that knife. The Bible says of itself that it’s sharper than any two-edge sword. In reality, that knife brings new life, not death. And it doesn’t matter whether they believe it’s sharp or not.

Now the second analogy I would use is a hook. In Matthew four, Jesus says very clearly that we are to be fishers of men and that if we follow him, he’ll make us fishers of men. Well, a good fisherman is going to have a hook at the end of their line. I like to think of that hook being constant exposure to God’s word. And when you give people constant exposure to God’s word, it’s like the hook that God uses to be able to catch those that are to be His. And that’s such a beautiful thing to know. I’m going about using such a sharp, effective tool—a lure, a hook, whatever, that can catch those that God says, follow me. And I’ll make you catchers of those kinds of people.

Let me illustrate with a story. I got a phone call from a man out of state I did not know very well. He said, “Hey, you gotta help me. Randy, this is a life-or-death situation.”

I said, “What is going on?”

He said, “Well, my ex-business partner, we had a terrible fallout. That’s all I’ll say. And he moved to Atlanta and started a company in competition to mine. His has not gone well. His marriage is on the rocks too. Bad things are happening. He just called me. He said, he’s sitting in his home in Atlanta with a pistol in his hand. And he said, he’s about to end his life. The only thing he wanted to do was clear things up with me before he left this earth, and I’ve begged him not to take his life. And I don’t seem to have made any progress, but I did beg him. I said, would you do me one favor before you take your life? There’s a man I know in Atlanta, his name is Randy. Call him, here’s his number.”

And then he said, “I don’t know if he’ll call, you know, he could be dead. I don’t know. But if he calls get to it immediately.”

He did call. He didn’t mention he was suicidal but just said he was having some struggles. I said, “Let me just come to your home later this afternoon. I’ll come and we’ll talk. He agreed, and I go to his home. My friend had told me, “This man has made more money in their industry than probably anybody. He is just extremely intelligent, but he’s hard.”

In fact, he told a story about giving him a gift to go see his good friend, Dr. Francis Shaffer. If you know that name, he was probably the greatest apologist of the last generation. He worked out a half day trip that he gifted to his partner hoping that Dr. Schaefer could maybe reach him. When he came back from that, my friend asked this man, “How was it with Dr. Schaffer?”

“Oh, I liked that old man. I liked him, and I think I helped him a lot.”

So, he said, “Randy, he’s hard.”

Well, I’m sitting there thinking, oh, it doesn’t matter. I got a knife that cuts. And if God wants him to come to faith, it’s going to happen.

And so, I get to his house, and I showed him my little introductory diagram. And I know many of you will say, “Show me the diagram.” Well, we offer that in our training, and it’s too much to go into now. But I had that same little diagram, and I said, “Hey, can I show you a quick little diagram?”

By the way, I had already said, “Do you know what I do?”

And he said, “No.”

I said, “I’m a preacher. I’m a pastor of a church.”

He says, “What? What kind.”

And I told him, ”A Christian Church.”

He said, “Well, I don’t do Christianity and all.”

And I said, “Well, that’s fine, but can I just show you this diagram?”

He said, “Yeah, go ahead.”

I finished the diagram, and he’s eager to meet with me for four weeks. And we talked about the four questions that we would be addressing in those four little booklets. And the first one was simply this: How can we, as Christians, believe that the Bible is God’s word without error”

And he looks at me and says, “I can’t believe that that’s okay.”

I said, “Number two: We want to investigate how Christians like me believe that all people, including more religious people outside of Christianity, deserve to be separated from God for all eternity.

He says, “Yeah, ah, I don’t know, that’d be hard to understand.”

“But you probably want to know why we would believe that. Number three question is this: How can we Christians believe that of all the religious leaders that have ever lived, that there is one and only one way to God and that’s through Jesus?

At that he hit the table we were sitting at with his fist and said, “No, you will never convince me of that. He pointed to some books on a coffee table. See those books. Those are Eastern religion books. I’ve studied. I’ve studied and gone around the world. I’ve studied religions. You cannot convince me that Jesus is the only way to God. In fact, I’ll talk about that right now.”

I said, “Actually no, that’s going to be week three.”

I thought I’d at least keep him alive out of curiosity, maybe for three weeks, but I just wanted to get him constantly exposed to God’s Word. And so, with that, I simply said, “Let me tell you the fourth. The fourth question is if you found merit to the answers that you hear from Christianity, to those first three questions, you’d want to know, what does Jesus say is required to have eternal life.

And so he said, “I’d like to meet with you.”

His wife was there. She said, “I’d like to meet too.”

And so I said, “Okay, we’ll do that next week.”

Well, the next week I get to his home. At the front door, he literally says, “Can we jump to that question three first?

I said, “No, that’s coming in a couple of weeks.

The next week, he said, “You’re not going to let me jump ahead a week? Are you?”

I said, “No, we’re gonna wait till the third week.” Because see, I wanted that knife to cut and cut and cut, because he had been committed and he was reading a little bit of God’s word as I directed him to. Just reading that little bit of John every week. And that was my hope—that it would bring life to him.

So we get to the third week and I said, “Well, this is the third week. This is the week you’ve been looking forward to.” And I said, “You now know what I believe and why. So, what do you think?”

And I’m telling you, truthfully, he looked at me, his head went down, and he says, “I can’t explain it. I believe that Jesus is God and I want him.” He looked over his wife, “So what about you?”

She said, “Me too.”

We got on our knees. Right then I went through the last little portion about the gospel and made sure they understood it. But we got on our knees around a little couch and they bowed their hearts before the Lord and indicated receiving him.

Let me tell you, life change. They ended up joining the church. He ended up going back to partner with his friend. Great story.

Even the man that I mentioned earlier, the one that I met with who said he was a Baptist. He now teaches, and is a devoted follower of Jesus.

And so you see, it wasn’t that I was so clever. No, it’s having the right tools. Constant exposure to God’s word, couple that with constant exposure to God’s people, and I tell you, you have a powerful tool.

So in our next video, I’m going to walk through the other three characteristics.


If you would rather read this series, you can download the Making and Training disciples booklets here.