We like to ask, “What would Jesus do?” but before you can answer that question you have to ask, “What did Jesus do?”

At the heart of his ministry in the Gospels and Acts was the birth and expansion of a worldwide missionary movement. Here’s how he did it.

  1. Jesus connected with people. Jesus crossed whatever boundaries stood in the way and connected with people. No group was beyond his care. Jesus spent a lot of his time ministering to people, looking for the “sick” not the “healthy”, “sinners” not the “righteous”. Looking for people who knew their need of forgiveness and salvation from sin.
  2. Jesus proclaimed the gospel. Jesus proclaimed the good news of salvation in words and actions. In him, God’s rule had become a present reality. He preached, he taught, he rebuked and he invited everyone he met to repent and believe. He gave his life as a ransom for many.
  3. Jesus made disciples. Jesus led people to put their trust in him and to learn to obey his commands. He modelled and taught them a new way of life.
  4. Jesus formed community. Jesus formed his disciples into communities which were to be characterised by faith in him, love for one another and witness in words and action.
  5. Jesus multiplied workers. Jesus equipped his followers to make disciples of all nations. He sent the Holy Spirit upon them so that they would continue his ministry in his power.

The renewal of a movement occurs when it rediscovers who it is in a fresh way, when it makes an “innovative return to tradition.” We never move beyond the example and practice of Jesus in the Gospels and Acts. It’s the space to which we must continually return before we ask, What should we do today, here in this context?

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Steve Addison is the author of Movements That Change the World, a calling to spark church planting around the world. He has been a life-long student of movements that renew and expand the Christian faith. Steve currently serves as director of Church Resource Ministries (CRM) Australia. He is married with four children and lives in Melbourne.