Make disciples. When Jesus was on earth, that was His strategy. As He gathered His disciples in Galilee to give them their marching orders, His message was clear. Make disciples. Over two thousand years later, the commandment has not changed for followers of Jesus. Make disciples.
Several years ago, God placed the idea of Arbel Ministries in the heart of Mark Whitehead. As a devoted disciple-maker, Mark dreamed about a way to bring every element of Jesus’ ministry together. Jesus came to teach, preach, and heal (Matt. 4:23; Matt. 9:35). The Lord began to bring these elements together in a unique way through the birth of Arbel Ministries.
Mount Arbel is a breathtaking mountain located on the northwest portion of the Sea of Galilee in Israel. The views from the top are among the best anywhere. However, our name is not simply based on a mountain because it has a nice view.
After Jesus' crucifixion but before His ascension, Jesus instructed His disciples to travel to a mountain in Galilee. Many scholars believe Mount Arbel was the site of the Great Commission. From the top of Mount Arbel, the disciples would have been able to see the four people groups that lived around the Sea. Listen to His words:
"Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Can you imagine bringing the disciples 132 miles from Jerusalem to Mount Arbel to make this statement? It must have been important for them to understand His message. He wanted all nations to be discipled. The Greek word for nations could be translated as people groups. God took them to the place that represented every person on the planet. From Mount Arbel they could see the passionate believers, the religious extremists, the believers in name only, and the pagans. As they could see these people groups, He gave them the instruction to make disciples of all of them!
The name “Arbel Ministries” is a reminder of who we are to pour our lives into as followers of Jesus. We are not simply to invest in other followers of Christ. He longs for everyone to be discipled. Even those that have a warped view of Him. Arbel Ministries has the vision to reach all nations.
Arbel Ministries exists to equip disciple-makers to experience the Word, mission, and character of God. How do we accomplish this mission? The same way Jesus accomplished His mission. He came to preach, teach, and heal (Matt. 4:23; Matt. 9:35). Therefore, the focus of Arbel Ministries is preaching (evangelism), teaching (building reproducing disciples), and healing (both physically and spiritually).
Arbel Ministries equips disciple-makers to impact the world for Christ using the following
Israel Tours – There is something special about experiencing God’s Word in the original context. Arbel Ministries will offer regular tours to Israel specifically designed to showcase the Word, character, and mission of God.
Equip Trips – Jesus loved to teach using His surroundings. Equip trips are 3-5 day trips in Tennessee that are designed to bring the text to life as lessons are taught “on location.” Arbel Ministries will offer regular equip trips to bring Israel to those who may never be able to financially or physically travel to the Holy Land.
Disciple-making trips – Church leaders and pastors around the world are leading people with very limited resources and training. Arbel Ministries will offer disciple-making trips to equip pastors with the knowledge and resources needed for investing in reproducing disciples.
Medical trips – Jesus came to heal. As a physician assistant, Mark Whitehead has a passion for using medicine to open doors for ministry. Arbel Ministries will offer medical trips for the purpose of evangelism and disciple-making.
Videos – A great way to reach our world for Christ is through technology. Using videos, Arbel Ministries will teach Biblical lessons in the original context.
Podcast – Arbel Ministries currently offers a weekly podcast hosted by Mark Whitehead. Mark focuses on bringing the entire Bible together with his teaching on the podcast. It is a tool that may be accessed around the world and will be a mainstay of Arbel Ministries for years to come.
Books – Arbel Ministries currently has multiple books authored by Mark Whitehead that focus on building disciples and illuminating God’s Word.
Resources for disciple-makers – To equip disciple-makers so they may fulfill their ministry, Arbel Ministries offers resources such as Dropping Our Nets. With teacher books, student books, and videos, Dropping Our Nets makes disciple-making possible for any believer.