Be a Disciple-making Disciple
In Jewish culture, the common practice and relationship between Rabbi and disciple has been, and still is, that the one wishing to be a disciple seeks out a Rabbi at the appropriate time and asks for permission to follow him. When the student has reached the proper age and understanding after going through the regular educational process in which all Jewish children engage, it is up to him to pursue the Rabbi he wishes to learn from and commit himself to that Rabbi’s process.
That’s what was so remarkable about Jesus and his disciples. They didn’t seek him out, He actually sought them. It was a complete reversal of the system.
What we can learn from this example is that we are to be proactive in making disciples. In fact, just before He left the earth, Jesus told us to be proactive and gave us the purpose and process. He even painted the picture of what a disciple should look like.
The purpose and the process is found in Matthew 28:18-20,
And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
And THIS is what a disciple should look like – Matthew 16:24-25,
Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
So to be a disciple-making disciple, we need to simply combine these two passages. It looks like this:
- Deny your selfishness and embrace His desires for you
- Follow Jesus, His example and His teaching. Worship Him with all your heart, soul and mind.
- Live for Jesus, but also be willing to die for Jesus
- Be proactive. Go to the world, e.g. next door neighbor, small group member, people you encounter day to day and those in other parts of the earth and baptize (immerse) them with truth (personally) and water (publicly).
- Teach the Bible, those things that you have learned from teachers and personal study.
So, what does it look like practically? Great question!
- Journal your journey. As you pray and read His word, write down the things that God is teaching you. When you first start walking with God, the Holy Spirit will give you many insights and it might become easy to “drop” a few of them. If you write them down and review them often, it will help you apply the insights daily, making them a part of your new walk. It will also serve as “markers” that you can use as you disciple others. David wrote about this often, but here’s a typical thought from Psalm 105:1-5, Oh give thanks to the LORD; call upon his name;
make known his deeds among the peoples! Sing to him, sing praises to him; tell of all his wondrous works! Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice! Seek the LORD and his strength; seek his presence continually! Remember the wondrous works that he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he uttered…
- Don’t wait for disciples to come to you. Get going slowly, but get going! You don’t have to wait until you have a seminary degree to start making disciples, but you need to make sure that you are in full understanding of where you are in your sanctification process. You can’t lead where you haven’t gone. If you have been serving the Lord for a year, awesome! Find a new convert and help them walk through their first year. Be careful though, not to jump ahead of your walk. Sometimes it’s easy to feel too confident about the way God is using you and get ahead of Him. Then we have the “blind” leading the “blind” and that isn’t a good plan. So don’t wait, but don’t sprint. Teach what you know, not what you THINK you know. 2 Timothy 2:14-16, Remind them (people you are teaching) of these things (what you have been taught by faithful disciples), and charge them before God not to quarrel about words, which does no good, but only ruins the hearers. Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. But avoid irreverent babble, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness.
- Pray and Read Scripture DAILY! Once you start leading others, it is even more important that you stay ahead in your walk. Satan will try to trip you up because in tripping you up, he can trip up others. You become an even greater target for him since you are engaged in growing the Kingdom of God. Stay diligent in the word and stay on your knees. When you engage in discipleship, you are on the front line of the war and your best position to fight is on your knees. 1 Peter 5:8, Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
- Meet regularly with your disciples! If we don’t stay in fellowship, especially in the early days, the relationship won’t last. Jesus stayed with his guys for 3 years, doing life together. You don’t have to live with your disciples, but you should meet so regularly that they feel like family (and they ARE!) Satan loves to separate, divide and conquer and he is looking for an excuse to break up your relationship. Don’t give him one! Be intentional and deliberate! Let them know you are in this walk with them, not only in words but also in actions. Do a Bible study together or find an area of theology that you both like and go for it. Some like creation versus evolution, while others like eschatology. You’ll find the one that you both like and when you do, embrace it. Hebrews 10:23-25, Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
- At the appropriate time, kick them out of the nest! In other words, you aren’t just making a disciple, you are creating a disciple-making disciple. After they are on their way, they need to find someone to take under their wing. That’s the way it works!This doesn’t mean you stop teaching your disciple, it just means you’ll begin to get spiritual grand-children and THAT is heavenly rewards time! 2 Timothy 2:1-2, You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.
- Be urgent! Time is ticking away and we aren’t far away from the 70th week of Daniel. We have to get the church prepared and, for some of us, that will happen one person at a time. Engage in discussions, study and seek out authors, blogs, and communities. Get prepared and help others prepare. The last days will be very confusing to those who haven’t made themselves ready. If God has called you to be a “watchman”, your time is coming. But you don’t have to wait until those days are upon us. Challenge your disciples to know what is ahead. We will need a strong army to stand against the Antichrist and Satan in those days. It’s time to get our soldiers into shape. Ephesians 6:10-18, Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints.