Jesus’ strategy for overcoming the world

Jesus’ strategy for overcoming the world

If you had only three years to impact the world for Christ, what would you do? Perhaps you would be compelled by the need for speed and seek to gather as many people as you could to hear you preach the gospel. Maybe you would adopt the rapid church planting methodology of planting as many churches as you could in the shortest amount of time, while leaving it to the Holy Spirit to guide and protect those churches. Fortunately, we don’t have to wonder what the best strategy is because Jesus has already shown us.

Shortly after Jesus was “commissioned” for His ministry, He began to prayerfully select a handful of men to invest in (Luke 6:12-13). This one-on-one investment would continue throughout our Lord’s life until the time where He commissioned those same men to carry on the same lifesaving message and continue in the same disciplemaking mode that He had established (Matt 28:18-20). This was Jesus’ “radical” strategy. Invest in a few who would invest in a few. Who would have thought?

Robert Coleman, in his book The Master Plan of Discipleship, said, “The initial objective of Jesus’ plan was to enlist men who could bear witness to His life and carry on His work after He returned to His father.” At the end of His life Jesus was confident that He had achieved this objective, praying, “I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do” (John 17:4). What was one key aspect of this work? He tells us: “I have manifested your name to the [disciples] whom you gave me out of the world” (John 17:6). Jesus was confident that all His labour of investment into these men, along with His indwelling Holy Spirit, leading them through their doubts and fears, questions and misunderstandings, would go to reap a harvest of souls beyond what He achieved. His task was complete and His investment secure.

Almost two years ago I took a handful of men to deliberately invest in, so that the church might be better served and the gospel perpetuated way beyond my own capacity. I called the gathering the Leadership Training Group. And now, after 37 meetings, 12 books read, comprising of 2,608 pages, 9 sermons preached, 6 topical discussions and 4 Bible studies completed, hours of robust discussion, 3 new kids born, 2 new elders appointed, 2 new ministries started, 1 marriage consummated, and 1 missionary family sent, the formal program has now reached its conclusion. We have all grown in our knowledge of God, in our love for Christ’s church and in our dependence upon His daily grace and better prepared to serve Him.

In our final preaching lab, Hadyn Bernau closed with these very fitting words, as a final exhortation to this band of brothers:

Brothers, God has blessed you with His gospel. Guard the good deposit entrusted to you. Continue in what you have learned and firmly believed. Go get’em! What does “Go get’em” mean for us? … Get out there and overcome the world, the flesh and the devil. But “go get’em” for us is get out there and glorify God and proclaim Christ. Get out there and feed the sheep. Get out there and rescue the lost. Yes, you’ve got weaknesses and besetting sins and more to learn. You are not yet the man you will be. Yes, ministry will be hard. There will be trials and rejection and persecution and suffering. But men of God, messengers of God, hear these truths and take them in. You are empowered by God. You’ve been educated by God. You are equipped with God’s Word. You are ready for the next bit of ministry God has for you.

As Paul said to Timothy, “Fulfil your ministry”. You may not be ready to, say, pastor a church. That might never be your calling. But you are ready to love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. You are ready to love your brothers and sisters in Christ. You are ready to have compassion on the lost. You are ready to be an example to others … You are ready to encourage, exhort and reprove your brothers like iron sharping iron. You are ready to lead your family and point them to Christ. Or, if you don’t have a family, you are ready to lead someone to Christ and then disciple them as your spiritual child. You are ready to serve the Lord in all sorts of ways. Men of the Leadership Training Group, fan into flame the gift of God. Continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed. Pick up your sword and enter the battle. Fight for every soul. God has prepared you and you are ready. Go get’em!”.

The church was not designed to be a group of spectators who attend weekly lectures or pep talks; it was designed to be a trained army with a powerful message. Brothers and sisters, we are all the messengers of the gospel who bring the message to others and then continue the process of discipleship of those who believe.

If you had three years to impact the world for Christ, what would you do? Let us not die wondering, for Christ has shown us. Begin today to invest and be invested in. Serve Christ by serving His people one person at a time, that Christ’s church may grow deep and wide.


  1. Elizabeth ann broome

    It’s been a pleasure to see these young men grow in Christ through the tasks and opportunities and responsibilities they have been given each with their own gifts and calling, looking forward to seeing the extension of their ministries in the future.
    Investing in people is never a waste of time,so many thanks to pastor Craig.

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