To Our Partners in Making Disciples,
From Nigeria, India, Ethiopia, Uganda, Holland, England, and Canada they came. From Russian, Hispanic, Romanian, Ukrainian, and African-American churches in the United States they gathered. 200 men traveled great distances because of the personal investment and influence of one man--Lee Grady.
Reading 2 Timothy 2:1-2 in 10 languages
Lee invited me to address his mentorees last weekend on "Real Men Make Disciples." I began my message with this personal story.
Barry and Lee
As a young youth leader, I discovered that Jesus was serious when He said, "make disciples." I was responsible for developing youth ministry for 34,000 churches, yet I had a disciple-making burden for a group of 10th grade guys in my church.
Though I had zeal for helping these young men follow Jesus, I knew almost nothing about how to do it. I invited these young men to come to my house to meet. I stood as they sat in a row, while I taught them the little I knew. I talked. They listened. We did this for ten weeks. Then we stopped. A few weeks later I got word that one person in the group had started going to the Jewish synagogue. That concerned me since the outcome of the discipleship group was not to make converts to Judaism! That young man was Lee Grady. I met with Lee and asked him about going to the synagogue.
Lee and Barry -- close friends
As we talked I discovered that he had grown up in the church, but no one had ever personally challenged him to follow Jesus, including me. A few days later the other guys in the group and I shared the gospel with him and he opened his heart to Jesus.
From my inept beginnings as a disciple-maker, Lee and I, along with the rest of the guys in the group, started meeting again, only this time in heart-to-heart, life-sharing conversations around the Word of God. I gave them time and focused attention both inside and outside the group. Over time we built real friendships based on knowing and following Jesus.
In spite of my feeble attempt at "making disciples" like Jesus did, Lee Grady emerged as a whole-hearted disciple of Jesus. Through the remainder of high school and college, I discipled him. I was in his wedding and spoke at his ordination. We have been close friends for over 30 years.
Was it worth it to disciple Lee? Consider this: For several years Lee served as editor for The Forerunner
, the largest collegiate evangelistic newspaper in the country. Then for several years he led Charisma Magazine
, the largest Christian magazine in the country distributed in many languages around the world. Lee has authored four compelling books including 10 Lies the Church Tells Women
(now translated into seven languages) and 10 Lies Men Believe
. Today his global ministry, The Mordecai Project
, challenges the church to release women from bondage and abuse.
Beyond this, Lee loves people and invests in them. Many of the attendees have either been mentored by Lee, have traveled with him on mission trips, or they came with men who were a part of Lee's sphere of influence. Now all 200 men have their own spheres of influence as pastors, youth pastors, worship leaders, evangelists, and missionaries. Bruce, for example, preaches the gospel and rescues enslaved children in Pakistan among Taliban strongholds. Biju moved his family to Mumbai, India's inner city to rescue children and teenagers. Over 1,000 street children (among 300,000) have been rescued and are being educated. Most have come to know Jesus. The one common thread among all conference attendees --"Lee has mentored me."
Lee Grady -- disciple-maker
My message finished with a challenge for each man to disciple 4-6 others. Because of real examples of disciple-making before their eyes, everyone took the challenge.
Lee's story illustrates Reach Out's major message and primary task: to challenge, train and resource the church globally to make disciples like Lee Grady and then watch the Lord multiply that influence around the world.
Your prayers and gifts play such a vital role in helping us do that!