Jesus Christ is the consummate model of making disciples. He banded twelve men of varying temperaments, ideology and vocational backgrounds. They quarreled amongst themselves and misinterpreted what he said. Christ faced internal pressures bringing this disparate grouping of men together and even lost one. He also faced external pressures of a nervous but entrenched religious and political order. Yet by the end of his ministry he was ready to entrust the Kingdom of God into their hands.
He told them before he left that they would receive power from the Holy Spirit and that they should be witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth. As they moved farther away from the center of the birth of Christianity with its distinctive Jewish flavor, they ran into cultural differences. Without changing the message, they had to figure out how to communicate the truths in a relevant manner. Not everyone liked how the Apostle Paul did it. But the Kingdom spread throughout the known world.
Christian history is filled with success and disaster stories about bringing the message in culturally appropriate ways. Through the ages, discipleship principles waxed and waned.
In this century, Dawson Trotman was used by God to revive and popularize this long-neglected theme in New Testament teaching, through the organization he founded called The Navigators.
Again, as these principles moved farther from the American cultural milieu in which they were once again popularized, the teachings of Jesus needed to be faithfully taught while communicated in a Third World setting far from Western and particularly American day-by-day experiences.
For this reason, REACH, Inc. in the Philippines was born with its emphasis on discipling the whole person. As the skeletal structure, it was incarnated in the flesh through relief work, development projects, Bible study materials and the family concept expressed in the Filipino term malakas-angkan (strong family). This forms the backdrop that forged a contextualized disciple-making ministry in the Philippines and is spreading to other countries in the Third World.