Rescuing Mobilization From Obscurity

Chale is the Collaborations Coordinator for Global Mission Mobilization Initiative (GMMI)

and lives in Chiang Mai, Thailand where he serves at the GMMI International Base. 


Cambridge dictionary defines ‘Mobilization’ as “the act of organizing or preparing
something, such as a group of people, for a purpose.” The key words in this definition are
organizing/preparing–for a purpose.

In the article “What We Mean By “Mission Mobilization?” Ryan Shaw defines ‘Mission
Mobilization” as “…every local ministry (no matter how big or small) systematically
educating, inspiring and activating their members in the Great Commission.”

We see crucial key words appearing in this definition like educating, inspiring and
activating which connect us to the Mobilization definition key words
(organizing/preparing–for a purpose) by Cambridge dictionary above.

The process of organizing/preparing believers for a purpose, which involves educating,
inspiring and activating is what the church calls “Discipleship.” Therefore, Mission
Mobilization can be called “…the core of true discipleship” as “disciple-making is the
core of the Great Commission” (Ryan Shaw and Christopher B. Adsit respectively).

Is Mobilization Discipleship or Is Discipleship Mobilization?

Mobilization and discipleship should be understood as one. An effort to disciple the Body
of Christ without administering a significant dose of mobilization in her veins, is
incomplete discipleship. And mobilization without the goal of seeing the Body of Christ
consuming a balanced diet discipleship is an effort spent on chasing the wind.

A well-discipled church mobilizes for the Great Commission and a mobilized church
disciples. Discipleship and Mobilization are intertwined, detaching one renders the other

If we are lamenting today that it is or is becoming more difficult to mobilize the church
for mission, then our eyes should wake up to the reality that we are trying to mobilize a
body of Christ that has generally received little or no discipleship at all. If she (the
church) claims to be discipled, then her discipleship has lacked the ingredient of

A well discipled church will not need a mobilizer to encourage mobilization. She will
naturally be mobilized, living up to her calling, with each believer/disciple playing their
specific role(s) in fulfilling the Great Commission. Along this line there is a loud call for
mobilization today because true discipleship often doesn’t exist.

Jesus’ Model of Mobilization

When Jesus discipled his disciples, He gave them a complete discipleship package with
mobilization at its core. It centered on educating, inspiring and activating all His
disciples. He spent so much time mentoring His followers and they learnt through both
observation and practical experience.

His goal was not just to impart knowledge but to transform the disciples into a tool that
would continue His ministry after His ascension into the heavens. He focused on building
a community of disciples who were not just passive believers but active participants in
sharing his teachings.

Leadership by Example

Mobilization is practical and whoever preaches it must live it for the glory of God and
even for those being mobilized/discipled to see what it means. Jesus led by example,
demonstrating the values he preached and taught and that served as a model for his

Jesus was inclusive, breaking the social barriers in all his mobilization efforts which in
the end saw people from different social groups being mobilized. He spoke to and dined
with outcasts like tax collectors, (Mark 2:15-17, John 8:1-11), he welcomed and served
gentiles (Matt 8:5-13, John 4:5-30), He preached to all people regardless of age (old or
young), gender (male or female), race (Jews or Gentiles) and this served as an example to
His disciples.

We see the early church carrying this same trait in her efforts of mobilizing the body of
Christ. This is one of the reasons why the early church was so effective and successful in
mission mobilization. All spiritual leaders are mobilizers by default and must live up to
this calling theoretically and practically.

Empowering Disciples

Jesus empowered his disciples, giving them authority and responsibilities. He encouraged
them to exercise their faith, utilizing their God given gifts and praying for the healing of
the sick, casting out demons, and preaching the Gospel, instilling a sense of purpose and
agency. Then he laid down the task and goal (the Great Commission) to be achieved in
clear terms (Matthew 28:19-20).

Does the church today teach and empower believers to identify their spiritual gifts, and
use them for the purpose of fulfilling the Great Commission? Many believers have been
manipulated to rely on their spiritual leaders in everything. Since the focus of many
denominations and Christian groups has been on building a name for themselves, mission
mobilization poses a threat to this goal.

Mobilization Prayer

Jesus taught his disciples how to pray (Matthew 6:5-8, Luke 11), what (Matthew 9:37-
38), where (John 4:21-24) when to pray (Luke 18:1) and why to pray (Matthew 9:37). It
is sad that most of us do not realize that we ought to learn the art of prayer and especially

mobilization prayer. “It is surprising how many Christians quietly assume that there is
nothing to be learned about prayer and praying” concurs Godfrey C. Robinson & Stephen
F. Winward.

In essence, Jesus’ model of mobilization was built on the principles of leading by
example, empowering His followers in prayer and inclusivity. We see this model being
practiced throughout the successful years of the early church until the global church lost
it when she tried to remodel.

There are many other areas of Jesus’ model of mobilization which this article has not
discussed. Like the crucial area of mission funding which can be learned by going back to
the scripture like when Jesus sent out His disciples in Matthew 10, when the early church
sent out message bearers within and across the borders and from apostle Paul’s
missionary journeys and epistles. The church today has lost her way because mission
mobilization has been reduced to an event done occasionally instead of a lifestyle
resulting from true discipleship.

Reference List
Christopher B. Adsit, Personal Disciple-Making, Here’s Life Publishers, San Bernardino,
Godfrey C. Robinson & Stephen F. Winward, The Way: A Practical Guide for the Christian
Life, Moody Press, Chicago.
Ryan Shaw, What we Mean By “Mission Mobilization,” 2021 Mobilization Matters article:

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