A couple of years ago, two young men and I decided to start getting together once a week so that I could “disciple” them. For several months, we read through a discipleship book, discussed how it applied to our lives, and prayed together for each other. It was a good time, and I know it impacted each of us.
As I look back on that experience and others like it, I find myself wondering “WHAT was Jesus focused on pass on to those He discipled?”, and “HOW did He do it?” These are essential questions that we need to spend time praying about and carefully consider.
1. What are the essential ideas and behaviors that Jesus wants us to pass on when we are making disciples?
In Mark 1:18 Jesus calls out, “COME AND FOLLOW ME, AND I WILL MAKE YOU FISHERS OF MEN.” In his book Real-Life Discipleship, Jim Putman uses this invitation as an outline to build his understanding of discipleship.
“Come and follow me” – A DISCIPLE KNOWS AND FOLLOWS CHRIST
“I will make” – A DISCIPLE IS BEING CHANGED BY CHRIST
“Fishers of men” – A DISCIPLE IS COMMITTED TO THE MISSION OF CHRIST
The thing I like about this outline is that it challenges us to follow the example of Jesus in WHAT we pass on to others by focusing on these three extremely important areas.
2. How do we plan to pass these ideas and behaviors on to others?
Once we have identified the important aspects of discipleship, we have to develop a strategy for actually passing them on. I personally struggle with the tendancy to depend too heavily on information and content. A lot of people equate making disciples to “teaching the deeper truths of the Bible”. By contrast, Jesus depends heavily on a life-on-life approach that includes content (mostly from his insight into scripture), but emphasizes actions and behavior, using lots of time together and relying on questions and parables.
How about you? What are you trying to pass on to those you are discipling? What have you found that works in discipling people in your church?
In the comment section please share some of your thoughts. It would be good for all of us to be able to hear what’s working for you.