Making Disciples in India

As a student believer with a strong desire to labor for the Lord Jesus Christ, I was deeply concerned that many who had accepted Jesus Christ as their personal Savior remained stagnant in their growth. I knew well that the mandate of the Great Commission was not merely to evangelize but to make disciples. And we are not merely to teach them, but to teach them to obey: to practice what they have learned. This was just not happening. I was frustrated—I didn’t know how to go about doing it. I didn’t know which goals to pursue. I had no system in place, no milestones to measure progress.
 
Then I came across The 2:7 Series®. It revolutionized my ministry. Not only did The 2:7 Series provide a dynamic, effective framework for making disciples, it helped me grow in my own walk with God. Let me tell you more about what the series is all about, and how it’s been so helpful in my own life and ministry.
 
The 2:7 Series gets its name from Colossians 2:7: “rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught” (ESV). The Series consists of three books:
 

  • Book 1: Growing Strong in God’s Family
  • Book 2: Deepening Your Roots in God’s Family
  • Book 3: Bearing Fruit in God’s Family
 
These are excellent and proven materials. The three books can be covered in a span of one year by a group that meets once a week. The first book is designed to help you build a strong foundation for your Christian life through enriching Bible study, Scripture memory, and group interaction. Book 2 helps you deepen your relationship with God, share your faith, and spend extended time alone with God. While studying the final book, you will be encouraged to grow in character, learn to use a tool for explaining the gospel, and work on your salvation testimony.
 
The 2:7 Series is designed to be used in a small group. In my experience, helping others grow as disciples is most effective in a group setting. This helps ensure better dynamics and accountability. The Navigators offer free training online for group leaders.
 
The decision to be part of a 2:7 group does involve some sacrifice. Group members must commit to at least 80 percent attendance. Each person is expected to do homework every week, then the group meets to discuss what they have done. You will need 90 minutes to two hours for each meeting.
 
With its biblical and practical approach to discipleship, The 2:7 Series yields long-term, life-changing results, such as:
 
  • A closer relationship to God: This doesn’t just happen. It requires building certain habits into our lives.
  • A keener sense of priorities: If we don’t set our own priorities, others will set an agenda for us. We will end up doing many good things that may not be the best things.
  • Renewed concern for friends from other faiths: We begin by praying for them, then learn how to connect with them and make Jesus Christ relevant to them in a personal way.
  • A growing camaraderie within your study group: The Christian life was never meant to be lived alone. The motivation we get by being part of a group of believers who share the same desires spurs growth and maturity.
 
The 2:7 Series combines the best principles of teaching methodology with a solid biblical base. It can be used in many settings: dorms, homes, or churches. Its purpose is to equip Christ-followers to fulfill 2 Timothy 2:2: to teach others what they have learned.
 
However, the system by itself does not make disciples. Only a disciple can make a disciple. Only as the Spirit of God works in a life can there be significant and lasting changes.
 
When I started using this tool with my fellow students, I never imagined the scope of the impact it would have in the years to come. As a group we learned how to study the Bible together and how to apply it in our lives. Making time for God became a habit. Obedience to the Word of God became a habit. Prayer became a habit. Memorizing verses became a habit. Sharing the gospel became a habit, and it was easy for we had learned and practiced an effective way of communicating it. The 2:7 Series helped me strengthen my own life in Christ and as well as help others move closer to God.
 
Today, 40 years later, I can say to the glory of God that from that small beginning—using The 2:7 Series in my dorm room—God has been pleased to initiate over 200 local churches not only in India, but also in places such as Sri Lanka, Nepal, East Africa, and the Middle East. Make no mistake; it was not I who led the movement. God used many. But at the beginning of it all was this simple tool, The 2:7 Series, that taught us how to make lifestyle changes that impacted not only our own lives, but our disciplemaking strategy. Forty years later, I have yet to find a better tool than The 2:7 Series to fulfill the Great Commission.
 

Alexander George is a professor at Kerala Agricultural University in Thrissur City, Kerala, India. You can read more about The 2:7 Series here. This article is adapted from the newsletter Our Contact, March-June 2018.

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