Why 100 Million Disciples?
Our vision is to take 100 million people on Discipleship Journeys with Jesus.
You might be wondering, “Why 100 million disciples in the DJJ vision, and why a vision so immense?”
Here’s the answer:
When DJJ was founded in October of 2016, our vision was to take ½ million people on discipleship journeys with Jesus. We thought that was a huge vision. However, in June 2018 a ministry leader from India challenged Founder and President Dr. Mark Alan Williams saying, “Your vision is too small.”
Mark was intrigued and asked “why.” He gave three reasons:
1. God loves faith.
God loves when we exercise faith, faith in Him to reach something like 100 million disciples.
The Bible is clear about this saying, “Without faith it is impossible to please God.” (Hebrews 11:5a)
This is not just faith for salvation, but faith for big goals like 100 million disciples.
This is not just faith for salvation, but faith for big goals like 100 million disciples.
A great illustration of this is the twelve spies who were sent to spy out the Promised Land before the Israelites would attempt to conquer it (see Numbers 13:1-33). Ten spies had small faith and said things like:
- It’s a wonderful land, but we’ll just be defeated if we try to occupy it. We can’t do it. We’ll all be slaughtered!
- The cities are too big and too strong for us.
- The people are more powerful than we. There are giants living there!
- It might be a promised land, but I promise you we cannot have it.
The result: The ten doom-and-gloom spies were struck with a plague and died (Numbers 14:36-38). The two faith-filled spies who wanted to take the land, Joshua and Caleb, were the only two of the twelve who entered the Promised Land.
Don’t you want to be like the two and not the ten?
Everyone loves the story David vs. Goliath. Why? Because with faith in Jehovah God, the young shepherd boy David defeated the giant warrior Goliath. David had a giant-sized vision and faith in God. The result was a victory for the ages.
“Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.” (Romans 12:3)
Pastor Rick Warren wrote:
The Bible says in Matthew 9:29 “According to your faith it will be done unto you.” That’s one of my favorite verses in the Bible. What are you expecting God to do in your life? This is the law that God has established. It’s called the Law of Expectation.
The fact is, we tend to get what we expect out of life. We tend to see what we expect to see. We tend to hear what we expect to hear. We tend to feel the way we expect to feel. We inevitably accomplish what we expect what we’re going to accomplish. This is the law of faith. God says you get to choose. Because "According to your faith it will be done unto you.” (Warren, Rick. “How God Tests Our Faith.” Sermoncentral.com, accessed July 9, 2019.).
Vision should be based on how big God is, not how big we are. A vision of 100 million disciples is WAY too big for anyone. But for God it’s no problem.
“Whatever is not of faith,” the Bible says in Romans 14:23, “is sin.”
2. People are attracted to a big vision.
The Bible says, “Where there is no vision the people perish.” (Proverbs 29:18)
The opposite is also true: when there is big vision, people are inspired and attracted.
This is also something that Dr. Mark Alan Williams knew but needed to be reminded. When he joined Dynamic Church Planting International (DCPI) as a staff member in 1998, it was largely because of an expanded vision to train leaders to plant a million churches. It inspired him so much, he wanted to help. He thought, “That’s a vision I can commit myself to and sacrifice for.” And for 18 years, that’s what he did.
With Dynamic Church Planting International, the vision of a million churches seemed certainly impossible at first, especially when there were only 5 or 10 trainees in the few early training events. But gradually strategies of multiplication were created which produced thousands of trainees. In Mark’s final full year with DCPI (2015), they trained 25,000 church planters in one year’s time!
“Make no small plans; they have no magic to stir men’s blood.” –Daniel Burnham
Often when we dream about a vision like 100 million disciples, we begin to focus on what kind of strategies it will take to fulfill the vision. Then we get stymied by the question of “how” and this limits our vision if we aren’t careful. But as Michael Hyatt wrote, “The what is way more important than the how. Until you get clear on the what, the how won’t show up.”
A wonderful passage about vision comes from the book of Habakkuk:
“Then the LORD told me: ‘I will give you my message in the form of a vision. Write it clearly enough to be read at a glance. At the time I have decided, my words will come true. You can trust what I say about the future. It may take a long time, but keep on waiting—it will happen! ‘I, the LORD, refuse to accept anyone who is proud. Only those who live by faith are acceptable to me.’” (Habakkuk 2:2-4 CEV)
Note that God told Habakkuk to:
a. Write the vision clearly.
b. Keep waiting, even though “it may take a long time.”
c. Live by faith.
That’s the way it is with big God-sized visions like 100 million disciples. We want things instantly, but it doesn’t usually work that way. There is a big gap between writing the vision and the fulfillment. In that gap we continue to live by faith.
Many have noted that it usually takes 10 to 20 years for an overnight success! We must “live by faith” until the vision is fulfilled.
3. God is working in remarkable ways through DJJ.
The third point Mark’s friend made was that God is moving in remarkable ways through the new ministry of Discipleship Journeys with Jesus.
Human nature is to always want more. But when Mark stepped back to inventory all that God was already doing through the ministry, he had to agree: God was already doing amazing things!
And in addition, he remembered that, “God is able to do immeasurably more than we can ask or imagine…” (Ephesians 3:20)
People around the world are using the DJJ journeys to make disciples and the ministry continues to grow. The materials are being translated into multiple languages, both major languages and some more obscure. Through the internet we became a worldwide ministry very quickly! More and more lives are being impacted.
Praise God! To Him be all the glory for our progress!
This vision of 100 million disciples is ridiculous…were it not for the awesome God we serve. It is not a vision that anyone can achieve, except God. Some might wonder if such a huge vision produces stress but in fact it is so big, it reduces stress, because we know that we cannot do it, God has to do it.
Some say, “Your vision is “Pie-in-the-sky?” But we say: No: It’s God-in-the-sky!
We’re not reaching for the stars. No, we’re reaching for God!
“If God is your partner, make your plans BIG!”–D.L. Moody
Another question is “Why that particular number, 100 million?
First, there was a lot of prayer and after the confirmation vote by our DJJ Board of Directors, a sense that God was definitely leading us to a vision of 100 million.
The rest of the answer is a little complex, but here goes:
First, we considered the percentage of the world’s Christians who are in the:
Global South (developing countries primarily in Africa, Asia, Latin America): 61%
Global North (N America, Europe, Australia, Japan, New Zealand): 39%
By Tradition Christians around the world are:
Other Christian: 1.3%
Our primary target is the 36.7% of the world’s Christians who are Protestant, totaling 801,528,000 Christians, and of these mainly the 61% who are in the Global South which is 488,932,080 (almost 500 million).
Why target the Global South? Because that is where the greatest needs exist. Those in that region need:
- Discipleship materials. (While we in the Global North have a wealth of Christian materials, they often have access to very few.)
- Materials in their own language.
Furthermore, the Global South is usually where the greatest growth of Christianity is occurring and where passion for Christ is the highest.
Please note: Mainly targeting the Global South does not mean that we are neglecting or are uninterested in the Global North. Our ministry is worldwide and originates from the North. There is a tremendous need for the Gospel in both the Global North and the Global South.
Next, while in 2010 the percentage of the world’s population who claimed to be any kind of Christian was 32%, only about 12% (about 1/3 of the total number of Christians) were considered practicing Christians.
Finally, in the Global South, perhaps 40% of the Protestant Christians are already discipled (or are being discipled) and perhaps 40% don’t want discipleship (nominal Christians). Our primary target is the remaining 20% of the Protestant Christians in the Global South who need and want discipleship.
Thus, the number of our vision (100 million) reflects 20% of the current total primary target: the 500 million Protestant Christians in the Global South who need and want discipleship.
NOTE: The main resource for the above statistics is: Pew Research. Global Christianity – A Report on the Size and Distribution of the World’s Christian Population.” Pewforum.org, accessed July 9, 2019. See also Winter, Ralph D. and Koch, Bruce A. “Finishing the Task: The Unreached Peoples Challenge.” Joshuaproject.net, accessed July 9, 2019.
So how will we achieve this audacious number of 100 million?
This next question is the “how” question mentioned briefly above. You’ll remember that the what comes before the how. So, we don’t know all the answers, however we know some things and here they are.
How can we reach 100 million?
1. Via Multiplication
Jesus said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father.” (John 14:12 ESV)
He didn’t mean greater works in quality, but in quantity. “Greater works” is how there are today billions of Christians around the world. It’s through multiplication of disciples.
As we inspire and resource churches and leaders to multiply disciples, it can look like this, many times over:
1. 12 becomes 24
2. 24 becomes 48
3. 48 becomes 96
4. 96 becomes 192
5. 192 becomes 384
6. 384 becomes 768
7. 768 becomes 1,536
8. 1,536 becomes 3,072
9. 3,072 becomes 6,144
10. 6,144 becomes 12,288
11. 12,288 becomes 24,576
12. 24,576 becomes 49,152
…and so on.
Imagine this kind of multiplication going on all over the world in multitudes of locations, with multitudes of leaders and you can see how the vision of 100 million is viable.
2. Via the internet.
We live in a unique time. We can communicate instantaneously around the world through the worldwide web. Materials can be distributed immediately via the internet. These opportunities have never before been available in the two thousand years since Christ.
And worldwide access to the internet is increasing exponentially, even to the remotest parts of the earth.
In addition, our DJJ materials are:
- Free of charge
- Simple, yet profound
- Interdenominational and intercultural
- Being translated into many languages
The barriers are removed.
3. Through the power of God
Jesus said, "With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible." (Matthew 19:26 NLT)
We’re under no delusions. This must be a work of God. With God, it is possible.
4. With the partnership of many.
This vision will be accomplished by the many like you who:
a. Multiply disciples.
You can use the 52 FREE journeys to grow as a Christ-follower and make disciples.
We’ve made it easy to access the materials online. Just go to www.djjministry.org and click where it says, “START YOUR JOURNEYS HERE.”
b. Volunteer their labors.
You can join our staff as a volunteer, part-time or full-time leader.
There’s a partial list of roles that need to be fulfilled on our website—just click HERE.
c. Financially support this ministry.
In order to provide the discipleship lessons, it does indeed take financial resources. Perhaps you’re part of the means by which God will supply us with the resources to provide DJJ for others?
To donate to DJJ please click HERE.