The High Call
The decision to live a life on mission is a life-altering decision. This article lays out FOCUS's mission of spiritual multiplication as the way to fulfill Jesus' Great Commission: "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit" (Mt. 28:19).
Optional Lectio Divina Prayer
- Read Jeremiah 1:4-8.
- Meditate on the words.
- Speak to Christ about this passage.
- Rest and listen in God’s presence.
- Discuss together.
World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history.
Beginning with the invasion of Poland by German forces in 1939, the battle soon engaged over 60 countries in the fight to stop the Nazis and their allies. From 1939-1945, 10 million American men (nearly one in three of able age) courageously enlisted to confront one of the most tangible manifestations of evil of our modern times. They committed their lives, some even giving the ultimate sacrifice through their deaths, to enter the largest battle this world has ever seen.
In reality, however, there is an even greater battle happening right now, one that engages every single person on Earth—the battle for eternity, the battle for our souls. And the consequences of this battle are far greater than the consequences of any earthly war; they are eternal. We are each engaged in this battle for our eternity, whether we choose to recognize it or not. We must make a decision—choosing to ignore the battle means choosing the losing side by default.
It is largely unknown what each of the commanding officers of those 10 million soldiers told them to motivate and encourage them before they entered into battle. However, last words like these bear great significance, and Jesus’ last words are no different. His marching orders can be found in Matthew 28:18-20, which is known as the Great Commission. Before he ascended into Heaven, he said to his disciples, “All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I will be with you always, until the end of the age.”
Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations.
This is his instruction: to be an instrument in his work of bringing every person into relationship with him. When we accept the call to participate in Jesus’ mission, it can—and will—change the rest of our lives. To the degree that we respond to this call, souls will be saved; and to the degree that we fail to respond, souls will be lost. Let’s consider the ways Jesus has already been calling us and how he is calling us to enter into his mission for the salvation of the world.
UNDERSTANDING THE CALL
The Message: The Gospel and Your Story
At the heart of the Gospel is this truth: “God proves his love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us” (Rom 5:8). Understanding this truth and the Lord’s work in your life so far is crucial to understanding how he might be continuing to call you to Himself.
Discuss: How does your life look different since you encountered Christ? How has he challenged you to turn away from sin, sacrifice the comforts of this world and follow Him?
Jesus’ Mission: Saving the World and Making Disciples
Christ came to rescue you, specifically and personally, but he also came for every single person that has lived and will ever live. He is calling us to have the same outlook for the world: that each soul is meant for Heaven but hangs in the balance between an eternity of life or death. Our response to his command to “make disciples of all nations” can make all the difference.
Discuss: Who has shared this life-changing message of the Gospel with you? What do you think of the fact that you could play a role in doing this for others and helping them to choose eternal life with Christ?
Jesus’ Model: The “Little Way of Evangelization”
How would a small group of young men fulfill Christ’s command to “make disciples of all nations”? Jesus asked his disciples to do what he Himself did: to invest in a few, to form them as faithful followers, and to teach them to do the same. He was forming not just disciples, living out prayer, fellowship, the sacraments and the teaching of the Apostles, but missionary disciples who were committed to passing on this life to others. This model for mission can be called Spiritual Multiplication.
Let’s take a closer look at how Christ’s own model can fulfill the Great Commission. Consider one person pursuing a deep, personal relationship with Jesus and desiring for others to know him. She starts intentionally investing in three others who also have a desire to know Jesus, teaching them to follow him. As they grow together, each of these three begins investing in friends of their own—two, three, or even more—who eventually go on to do the same, forming more and more missionary disciples with each new cycle of growth.
The effects begin slowly—one missionary disciple becomes four and four becomes thirteen. But for illustration purposes, if all continued to go well, after seven cycles, the total number reaches nearly 1,000, and after 13 cycles, over 500,000. At this rate, the entire world could be reached in just 22 cycles— that’s within one lifetime of the original disciple! While human weakness and failure will always be present along the way, this model beautifully illustrates the potential impact one person can have in changing the world!
You don’t have to be a talented speaker, a social media guru with thousands of followers or the most charismatic person in your community to become a missionary disciple. Think of this as the “Little Way of Evangelization.” Just as St. Therese was able to accomplish great holiness through prayer and little acts of love, investing deeply in a few can bear tremendous fruit and help accomplish the Great Commission. All it takes is a lifetime of love.
Discuss: Do you think it’s possible to reach the world in this way in your lifetime? Why do you think it is important for evangelization to occur through relationships and deep, personal investment?
Jesus’ Method: Spiritual Multiplication in Action
Jesus lived spiritual multiplication by investing his life in his Apostles and teaching them to go out and share all that he had taught them. This is also what he invites us to do: his way is the “Method Modeled by the Master.”
But how do we accompany others on the journey from desiring a relationship with Jesus to faithfully sharing his life and mission with others? First, by encountering them in friendship and living life together. Then, by sharing the Gospel with them and teaching them the habits of a disciple and the truths of Jesus’ mission. And finally, by walking with them as they go on to share these truths with others and build them up to go on mission for the salvation of souls as well.
If you become who you are meant to be, you will set the world on fire.
Discuss: In what ways do you feel excited to lead others in this way? Do you have any fears about living this model with others?
The Cost of Battle
It’s clear that the rewards of this battle are great, but they are not without cost. Jesus himself tells us in Luke 9:23, “If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” To follow Jesus as missionary disciples will mean making sacrifices—like denying ourselves of many comforts and control—so we can pour out our lives for the conversion of others. We will experience suffering in a new way as we contend with rejection, discouragement and disappointment. We will have to rearrange our schedules to make more time to love others, to grow in our formation and to spend time in prayer. The battle is real, as is the enemy; however, Christ has already overcome the enemy and he promised to remain with us always.
The soldiers in WWII gave their lives for freedom and peace— in their own generation, but also for future generations. In the same way, giving your own life for the Gospel will allow not only your current friends and acquaintances but also future generations to know the love and mercy of Jesus. You will not be in the battle alone—the Holy Spirit will be guiding your way, and you will be supported by a missionary disciple investing in you and a small community of growing disciples also seeking to walk in the way of spiritual multiplication.
Discuss: Will you accept Jesus’ call to make disciples by committing to investing deeply in a few and teaching them to do the same? Answer this question, if you are ready, and take a minute to discuss your thoughts.
If you are ready to commit your life to following Jesus and living out his mission to save the world:
• Set up a consistent time to meet together each week so that you can pray, share life and hold each other accountable to living life on mission.
• Discuss expectations for living out spiritual multiplication— what are your hopes? How might the Lord already be calling you to lead others to Him?
• Share any fears or doubts you are experiencing. Are there any ways you are tempted to believe you are not qualified to be a missionary disciple?
• Discuss your next steps for putting spiritual multiplication into practice in your life. See additional articles for more details on ways to live out Jesus’ mission in your day-to-day life as you participate in his plan to save the whole world.
As you prepare to embark on this journey of transforming the world as a missionary disciple, have hope! As St. Catherine of Siena says, “If you become who you are meant to be, you will set the world on fire!”
The Method Modeled by the Master: Jesus evangelized the world by investing in a few through whom he trained to the same. In so doing he imparted both faithfulness and fruitfulness that transformed the ancient world.
The Little Way of Evangelization: By imitating Christ, investing deeply in a few and training them to do the same, spiritual multiplication can reach the whole world for Christ today.
The Invitation to Accept the High Call: Will you accept Jesus’ call to make disciples by committing to investing deeply in a few and teaching them to do the same?