The Great Commission of Matthew defines evangelism through a discipleship system; in Mark, the emphasis is upon proclamation.

This entry is part 85 of 118 in the series Diagnosis, Dialogue, Decision: A DMin Project

The Great Commission of Matthew defines evangelism through a discipleship system; in Mark the emphasis is upon proclamation.[1] On the day of Pentecost, Peter preaches one sermon and three thousand converts result (Acts 2:41); pastors have sought to reduplicate these results for centuries without success. The number of converts at Pentecost and thousands more in the days that follow are more the result of the discipleship system which Jesus modeled and taught for three years prior to the cross than Peter’s sermon. If enough wood is stacked properly, a single match can start a great fire. Jesus spent three years stacking the wood in preparation for the church of Acts. While the disciples continued to practice the discipleship system of Jesus, the first priority was to light the fires Jesus had already prepared throughout Israel by preaching the resurrection.[2] Jesus said, “I will build my church,” and demonstrated the necessary methods over three years of teaching.





[1] The quote is a selection from David O. Kueker’s Fuller Seminary Doctor of Ministry project submitted in September, 2007, entitled Diagnosis, Dialogue, and Decision: A Threefold Process of Revitalization For the Illinois Great Rivers Conference.
It is shared here in recognition of its 12th Anniversary along with comments to update and provide perspective on the material. The original project was a Training Manual/Study Guide of three Seminars supported by three chapters of research and an Introduction. The material is available for download at In 2009 it was provided for purchase as a softcover book entitled Designing Discipleship Systems: Christian Disciple Making For Any Size Church, Any Theology through

[2][3] [4][5] [6][7] [8]

All Scripture quotations are from the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright © 1946, 1952, and 1971 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Please review the page How and Why We Use Quotes.

[1]Other references include Mark 3:14, 16:15, 16:20; Luke 24:47, Acts 5:42, Romans 10:14.

[2]Every community throughout Israel had a few who had experienced miracles, more who had seen them, some who had spent some time following Jesus, and many who had heard him teach. After the day of resurrection, proclamation would be enough to crystallize this proto-network of prechristians into a functioning local church. Discipleship systems work with God in prevenient grace to prepare people for a crystallizing moment of justifying grace. What is called the “Messianic Secret” may be no more than Jesus building this proto-network in every village. For the role of dense social networks in conversion, cf. Katherine S. Hutter, The Mormon Church’s Impact on Chilean Democracy, documentos/hut_them-i.pdf (accessed June 13, 2007).

Series Navigation<< This phenomenon on the frontier could be called Prairie DNAThe discipleship system is the highest priority in third world cell churches. >>
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