An Incredible Line of Influence

He first found his own brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which means Christ). He brought him to Jesus. (John 1:41-42)

Andrew was one person who met Jesus, then started where he was with the people closest to him, and brought them to Jesus. That’s what we’re called to do, as well.

In Multiplying Disciples, Dr. Waylon Moore tells a powerful story that illustrates the impact one person can have when he commits to lead others to be disciples of Jesus Christ. Read what follows carefully. It’s one of the most remarkable series of events in the history of the church. 

Edward Kimball was a Sunday school teacher in the 1800s. He committed himself to reach every lost young person in his Sunday school class. A young man who had begun working in a nearby shoe shop was especially on Kimball’s heart and mind. Kimball visited the shop one day and, in the back room, led the young man to receive Jesus Christ as his Savior. That man, D. L. Moody, became a pioneer in mass evangelism and was used by God to touch millions of people for Christ in North America and Europe.

Moody was conducting a series of evangelistic meetings in England, where many British pastors rejected his approach and methods. One of them, F. B. Meyer, was offended by what he perceived to be Moody’s crudeness. Then, Meyer heard two Sunday school teachers in his own church tell how impressed they were by Moody’s commitment to win all the members of his Sunday school class to Christ. These two ladies made the same commitment, and wound up leading all their class members to Jesus. Convicted and energized by the Holy Spirit, Meyer became Moody’s friend and joined in his evangelistic meetings.

Moody later invited Meyer to the United States to teach the Bible. A young preacher named J. Wilber Chapman was transformed by Meyer’s teaching, and went into evangelistic ministry. God used Chapman all over the world to reach people for Christ. His assistant, a former pro baseball player named Billy Sunday, followed in Chapman’s steps, and became the most well-known evangelist in America. Entire metropolitan areas were transformed as he preached the gospel in city-wide crusades.

Billy Sunday’s crusade in Charlotte, North Carolina, resulted in an ongoing prayer group that met for years afterward. That prayer group invited a cowboy evangelist named Mordecai Ham to come and speak for a large evangelistic campaign in Charlotte. During one of those meetings, a group of teenagers trusted Christ as Savior. Among them was a young man named Billy Graham, who has preached the gospel of Jesus Christ to more people than anyone in history.

Think about that incredible line of influence: From Billy Graham back to Mordecai Ham, from Mordecai Ham to Billy Sunday, from Billy Sunday to Wilber Chapman, from Wilber Chapman to F. B. Meyer, from F. B. Meyer to D. L. Moody, and from D. L. Moody back to Edward Kimball – a Sunday school teacher who committed to win his class to Jesus.

Waylon Moore concludes the story this way: “Only heaven will reveal the actual number of people reached through the chain of multiplying disciples as a result of Edward Kimball’s humble efforts in the 1800s in his local church.” Moore than offers this challenge: “Christ calls us to be disciples who will multiply spiritually. Multiplication should be the result of conscious application of biblical principle, not just coincidence.”

What can you do, where you are, with what you have to make a difference in the life of someone else for the sake of the gospel?

Have a great day and keep moving forward!