What would happen to the Church of Jesus Christ if a majority of those who claim to follow Jesus were nurtured to maturity through intimate, accountable relationships centered on the essentials of God’s Word? What would happen if these same followers were equipped to multiply God’s Kingdom by becoming disciple-makers? They would be clearly “marked” as self-initiating, reproducing disciples of Jesus… and the love and reign of God would exponentially multiply throughout the world! The world needs more “marked” Christians—everyday followers of Jesus who have an up- close relationship with Him and disciple others who, in turn, disciple others.
First, I want you to know that this is an introduction to discipleship. This is not anything close to everything you can learn about following Jesus and teaching others to follow Him. This is just a push start, a “101” crash course of how to get started in loving and serving Jesus for a lifetime and well into eternity. As you practice these discipleship essentials, Jesus will take you on incredible Kingdom adventures and to unfathomable relational depths only He Himself can. And that’s the best ride of all!
Be Relational Not Professional
Imagine the apostle Paul in a cold and dark prison in Rome. His feet in chains. His cell crawling with rats. He knew he could die any day. Everything around him made him long for his heavenly home. Yet, from that awful setting and situation, listen to what Paul writes to his disciples some 4,000 miles away in the city of Philippi: “I have you in my heart” and “how I long for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:7-8).
I imagine Paul wept as he wrote those words. What motivated Paul to endure such hardship and suffering for the sake of others? He carried God’s deep love for people in his heart. This same love for God and others should fuel our passion for disciple-making discipleship.
Discipleship isn’t clinical, programmatic, or professional. It is
warm, relational, and sometimes stained with tears. It’s life-on-life. If you want to make disciples the way Jesus did, you’ll need to love the people authentically you are discipling, not just treat them as a box to check, a step to follow, or a point to gain.
This tool is designed to use in one-on-one mentoring relationships as well as in small group settings of four or five people. For some, a one- on-one opportunity will be what’s available and the way to go if that’s you, awesome! If you can gather 3-5 people to disciple in a group, even better! Experience has taught me that a small group setting is often the most effective way to make disciples that make disciples.
Here’s why they’re so powerful, they often offer the right setting for transformation and growth in one’s
relationship with Christ. They provide:
Multiplication. Empowering those who are disciples to disciple others.
Intimate Relationships. Developing deep trust as the soil for life change.
Accountability. Lovingly speaking truth into the lives of others.
Spiritual Disciplines. Practicing the habits that lead to intimacy with Christ and service to others.
Synergy. A fancy word that means there’s power in numbers and more room to practice, pray, learn, and encourage one another… when done together.