Lewis Alexander is an expert on discipleship with the Great Commandment Network. He has created a discipleship diagnosis. This tool breaks down the discipleship process into forty distinct outcomes that a Spirit-Empowered disciple needs. On today’s podcast we talk about how the evangelist can connect evangelism and discipleship.
The Great Commandment Network: https://www.greatcommandment.net/
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (00:00):
Welcome to the Evangelism Podcast. I’m Daniel King, and I am excited about telling people about Jesus. Today. I have a very special guest with me, Louis Alexander from the Great Commandment Network. Thank you for being on the podcast with me. Yeah,
Lewis Alexander (00:14):
Absolutely. Daniel, thank you for inviting me.
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (00:16):
Now, you are a discipleship expert. Expert. let’s start, if you could just tell me what does the Great Commandment Network do?
Lewis Alexander (00:27):
Oh, well, we partner with churches and ministries, denominations around the, the great commandment, loving God and loving others, and then fulfilling the Great Commission, which we think the Great Commandments in the Great Commission where Jesus said, you know, make disciple makers and teach them to observe all that I’ve commanded you. And we think the great commandment is something that was the starting point, you know to love God. And perhaps even the starting point for evangelism is to love God, the heart soul minus strength, and then love our neighbors, or so
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (01:01):
Now sometimes great commission and great commandment have kind of been separated, but I think we really need to include both in, in what we’re thinking about. And, and then sometimes people separate evangelism and discipleship. Like you say you’re an evangelist and they say, well, what are you doing to really disciple people? But you know, every discipleship begins with evangelism. Absolutely. And so we really need both. We need good evangelism, but then we also need to take the people that respond to the gospel message and begin to raise them up Yes. In the things of the Lord. And you have actually done some really deep thinking on the discipleship process. You’re part of the, the e Empowered 21 Discipleship Commission. Yes. And over the last 12 years, you guys have been working to define spirit empowered discipleship and what that looks like. And kind of talk to me about the process and, and how you’ve been developing this.
Lewis Alexander (02:03):
Yeah, yeah. Daniel, thank you for those questions. You know, we started with the Ephesians for 11 and 12 that God gave some as apostles and prophets and evangelists and pastors and teachers for the equipping of the saints, for the works of service, works of their ministry. And so we kind of started with the premise, Daniel, that saints serve. And so we we took that word serve and we looked at the Greek and Hebrew words throughout the scriptures. And there were a couple of Hebrew words that we drilled down on and the scripture verse in the Old Testament associated with them. And then several New Testament words. And we did a cluster analysis and they clustered around four dimensions that a disciple, cuz we wanted to explore, you know, what would a disciple look like if one showed up?
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (02:54):
And so you’re trying to define Yeah. What good discipleship looks like. Yes. And, and, and how to help people grow. And so by clearly defining this, then you can measure different areas where maybe a church or ministry is being successful in discipling people and then other areas where they need to work on.
Lewis Alexander (03:14):
Yes. Because we were, we were thinking, our former perspectives on discipleship wasn’t really working. We weren’t making disciple makers, you know, who make disciples. And so, you know, a lot of the models, discipleship models were more of a rational behavioral methodology. And we found that not being effective, it wasn’t spirit empowered. So we ended up starting with a premise that these need to be relational. You know, the great commandment is very relational. Love God, love your neighbor. That’s, that’s very relational, that they could only be fulfilled. Part couldn’t only, could only be fulfilled through spirit empowerment. So there, there isn’t any of our outcomes in there of like a disciple memorize the scripture because you could be a lost person and memorize scripture <laugh>. Now we’re gonna imply that it’s memorizing scripture is, is necessary. But these outcomes, we wanted to make sure they were spirit empowered.
And and certainly as we, you know, as we do evangelism, you know, we want to be led by the spirit and empowered by the spirit cuz it’s, it’s a work of the spirit in which people come to Christ. So that was important to us. And so they clustered around these four areas of loving the Lord when we did this cluster analysis of the word for serve loving the Lord or serving the Lord, serving his word, ministering the word men, loving, serving and loving people, ministering to people and serving his mission.
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (04:50):
Okay. So you have these four different areas, Uhhuh, <affirmative>, that you are evaluating. So you’ve got loving the Lord, living his Word, loving people, and living his mission. Yes. And under each one of these different categories, you have 10 outcomes Yes. Of what it would look like to be successful for someone to, to grow in those areas. Yeah. All right. So let’s start with the first one, loving the Lord. Yeah. What are some of the outcomes Yeah. That you’re looking for under loving the Lord?
Lewis Alexander (05:23):
So, for example, we, I’ll get, I’ll talk about L two, which we call loving the Lord and the kin, number two of learning to listen to and hear God. And certainly, you know, in evangelism, I want to be listening to the Lord. I mean, you know, just give you a couple of biblical antidotes, you know, of Jesus when he tells his disciples, we must needs go to Samaria. And Jesus didn’t, Jews didn’t do that. And that word must needs die in, in the Greek delta epsilon iot is means in, in, in the king, in the King James has translated must needs. We, we gotta go. I’m, I’m listening to him. I’m hearing my father and he’s saying, go, go through Samaria. And Jews didn’t do that. But so right off the bat, Jesus is challenging some of the assumptions of his disciples, and they’re going to Samaria and he’s hanging out by a well, as you would know Daniel.
And, and this woman comes. And so he’s waiting on a woman and listening, listening to the Lord waiting on a woman. And she comes and he has this conversation with her. And, you know, the John four passage. And I’m sure it was a shock to disciples because apparent, you know, rabbis don’t really talk to women, but apparently this one does. But listening to and hearing God, you know, and, and the Lord will will guide us. I mean, Jesus was walking through Jericho and, you know, he stops at a tree and looks up and it’s, it’s that kiss. And he welcomes him down. You know, the welcome Matt’s out and arms open. And but I think that came from any said again that use that same Greek word, we must needs go to your house. And so we think that Jesus is listening to and hearing God, and that that’s probably an important outcome that we would. All right. So
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (07:10):
All that is under L two listening to and hearing God for direction in discernment. And so yes, you would want people to grow in that as they go through the disciple Yeah. And ship process. So some of the different categories that you would have are outcomes that you’re looking for under loving the Lord would be practicing Thanksgiving and all things. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative> experiencing God as he really is through deepened intimacy with him. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative> rejoicing regularly in my identity as his beloved. And so you’ve got 10 outcomes there. Yes. And then the second area is living the word.
Lewis Alexander (07:43):
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (07:44):
What are some of the outcomes that you’re looking for under living the word?
Lewis Alexander (07:47):
Yeah. Let’s, so we, we kind of sometimes talk about I’ll put my glasses on here so I can read <laugh> you know, do the book. So I’ll just talk about w two for a minute there. Which is outcome number two under, under the word living the word, being in a living epistle, you know, so that we’re you know, people are reading our lives, Daniel. So hopefully they’re gonna be filling the vibe from me of this guy is a safe guy. You know, we’re if I’m sitting by you on a plane and, you know we’re having a conversation, you feel safe and you feel like you can trust me and we can have this conversation. And I’ve, I’ve led people to Christ on airplanes just by trying to, to have this vibe of being a living epistle, of wanting to know and care about them, you know, in, in my life.
And I remember can I share a little amdo story with you? So I was, I was on a plane from Charles de Gall Paris flying to Istanbul, and it’s about a four and a half hour flight. And I had done it, you know, several times. And so I know what I’m in for. You gotta sit there and you don’t know who’s gonna sit by you. And so having some of these human interest questions like, you know, tell me one of your your most celebratory days. And so I’m sitting by this guy named Moot Lou, and he’s he’s a Turkish businessman. He’d been selling forklifts in Paris. And you know, I know I’m, I’m sitting by him for four and a half hours, so I wanna show interest in his life, you know, try to bridge to the gospel somehow.
And so I’m just asking him, I said, Hey, you know what, tell me about your, you know, one of your most celebratory moments in your life. And so here again, this is a Muslim guy, he’s from Turkey, and I’m an American Christian, so we’re worlds apart, you know, <laugh> and in terms of worldview. But I ask him, tell me about a time of rejoicing. And he tells me about when he got engaged with his wife, and he, you know, where he met her. He met her in a supermarket. Wow. I mean, all of a sudden this kind of me too moment of man, you know, guys in, in, in the states tried to pick up chicks in the supermarket too, you know, <laugh>. And he got her phone number in the line, and and you know, they went out and they dated for a couple years, you know, he brought her back to that same checkout line and proposed marriage to her.
And so he spends 45 minutes telling me this story, and, you know and I’m, I’m showing interest. I’m giving them my contact, I’m listening, you know, I’m, I have a smile on my face. I’m, I’m rejoicing with him. You know, I’m doing the Bible verse of, you know, Romans 1215, I’m trying to make a human connection. And so I’m trying to be a living epistle of Romans 1215. And and after 45 minutes, he said, well, what do you do? I said, well, I teach people how to love each other. And he was <laugh>. He couldn’t believe he was, he was like, what? And so I was able to just kind of tell him about why I do that and the love that Christ has for me, and I’m the beloved of God. And he had, he, I, you know, he was coming from a, obviously a Muslim background and the Quran, and I told him Jesus stories. I spent, you know, probably a, an hour or so just telling him Jesus stories. And he was so intrigued. He had never heard about Jesus, even Washington, his disciples, feet, things like that. And I seated the gospel, he didn’t pray to receive Christ that day, but he got a heavy dose of, of gospel. And that came from trying to be a living epistle on the plane.
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (11:37):
Wow. That’s a great story. I really like how you’ve broken these 40 discipleship goals down into different outcomes that you’re looking for. So how do you measure Yeah. If someone is growing in these areas? Yeah.
Lewis Alexander (11:54):
Yeah. Thanks for asking. Right now we have a self-assessment of a lacker scale of one to five, you know, where going from, you know, I strongly disagree to, I strongly agree. And you just sort of self-identify where you would score yourself. And
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (12:14):
And sometimes just asking the question makes people realize like, Hey, I, I could grow. I need to grow in this area. Yeah.
Lewis Alexander (12:21):
Yeah. And then, you know, once you can identify that you know, you, you’re growing your self-awareness of identifying, oh yeah, you know, I, I need to work at learning to and listen learning to listen to and hear God. And maybe I don’t, maybe I need to ask God more. You know, God lead me who, who, who today can I share my faith with? And lead me to opportunities and see, see if the Lord is prompting you. But the more we start, you know, bringing that top mind and I can start moving the needle, you know, from a maybe a, a two mm-hmm. <Affirmative> that I disagree, that I’m listening to and hearing God to, maybe I move it to a four that, you know, I’m, I’m agreeing, I’m, I’m, I’m more consciously aware of that in my life and I’m trying to do that more.
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (13:10):
Yeah. That’s awesome. Well, thank you so much for sharing. Absolutely. if someone is interested in finding out more about what you do or more about the Great Commandment Network, what is your website?
Lewis Alexander (13:23):
Yeah, it’s great commandment, great commandment.net, and you’ll find a bunch of resources on there.
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (13:29):
And, and tell me a little bit more about what the Great Commandment Network does. Okay.
Lewis Alexander (13:34):
Yeah. We are a resource training ministry, and we partner with denominations and movements around the Great com, great commandment, great commission. Yeah. and so we provide resources to address freedom adequacy motivation in fulfilling the Great commandment, great commission. You know, sometimes I may want to do that, but I may have freedom issues, I may have my own fears, I may have unresolved pain or sometimes it’s adequacy. And so we create these resources. We have a lot of online resources.
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (14:13):
You have complete courses, courses that people can go through, Uhhuh, <affirmative> mm-hmm. <Affirmative> and, and learn about all this. And also how they can implement discipleship in their life and in their ministries. Yeah. Well, brother Lewis, thank you so much Yes. For being on the the Evangelism Podcast. I appreciate it. Yeah. Thank you
Lewis Alexander (14:29):
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (14:30):
Me. Yes, sir. Appreciate it. Daniel.
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