Last time I posted, I highlighted three characteristics of a disciple-making church. You can check out that post by clicking here. Disciple-making churches are composed of disciple-making Christians. Unfortunately, some Christians have limited the ministry of disciple-making to a select few, citing a litany of excuses. Jesus clearly commanded all of His followers to execute His most basic command – multiply.
Today, I would like to challenge you to evaluate your personal disciple-making ministry. Are you currently engaged with others in order to help them follow Christ more closely? Are you becoming a more passionate follower of Christ yourself? Do you feel that you’re not gifted enough to make disciples? Does your hesitation come from your lack of Biblical knowledge? Consider the below ways to start making disciples of Christ immediately.
Connect regularly with new believers
One of the primary reasons that Christians are not making disciples is because they see little to no opportunity to do so. If you’ve been going to church for any length of time, you might think that everyone has been saved longer or that they are already in a discipleship program – and you’re probably right. Make it a priority to surround yourself with new believers and arrange life-on-life interactions.
If there aren’t any new believers around you, then make some! Start inviting others to follow Christ with you and encourage them that you’ll help show them the way. Your hunger to make disciples will lead to a hunger for lost souls.
Pray for the opportunity to make disciples
While this post should outline the ease of how to begin making disciples, it is certainly not meant to make light of the command. Jesus did not flippantly choose His disciples – it was a sincere matter of prayer. “Now it came to pass in those days that He went out to the mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God. And when it was day, He called His disciples to Himself” (Luke 6:12-13).
Making disciples is kingdom business. If you pray for the opportunity to make disciples, the Holy Spirit will certainly answer.
Be intentional about “The Big Ask”
So many Christians desire to follow Christ more closely, but the simply don’t know how. Make the offer to be the one to help. Such a simple proposal is the foundation of discipleship.
You can’t disciple everyone, but don’t let that stop you from discipling anyone. Sometimes people become paralyzed as disciple makers because there are so many in need that they don’t know where to start. As the Holy Spirit leads you to whom He will, realize He is building His kingdom, not yours. Even Jesus did not make disciples of every living person during His earthly ministry. He chose twelve and then even showed specific attention to three of them. The New Testament church was birthed out of His approach. Follow His example.
Focus on the Master, not the follower.
Believers often make the excuse that they do not have enough Biblical knowledge to make disciples. Everyone can relate to this fear, but at the core of this fear is self – not Christ. The purpose of making disciples is to help others look like Christ, not you. Also, a benefit of engaging in disciple making relationships is that you too will become a stronger follower of Christ.
You should actively strive to become a stronger disciple. But don’t let your fear derail your obedience to Christ. As you disciple others, you will fail. There will be questions that you clearly do not have answers for. Point to Christ. It’s not about you – it’s about Him.
Understand that making disciples is a journey, not a destination.
Often Christians are overwhelmed at the task of making disciples. This feeling is rooted in a misunderstanding of how to do so. Books, curriculums, and programs have convinced disciple makers that discipleship is a destination, not a journey. For example, if you complete a certain 8-week, three-year curriculum then you’re deemed a disciple. Let’s be careful not to cheapen the process of becoming a disciple to an award or a badge of honor. (NOTE: I’m not opposed to disciple-making curriculums. However, I would encourage it to be viewed as a part of the process, not as an end in itself.)
Realize that every follower of Christ is on a life-long journey to becoming like Him. Fortunately, He has called you to be a part of that process in other believers’ lives. Don’t miss out on the opportunity!
Andrew Hale currently serves as Associate Pastor of Education and Discipleship at Turning Point at Calvary in St. Augustine, FL. He is also enrolled at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in their Doctor of Ministry degree program. You can connect with Andrew on both Twitter and Facebook.