Pastor Jay is very excited about having a church full of disciples. From the pulpit, he began his motivating talk: “The church is called to make disciples. We are in the disciple-making business. So, we’re offering a series of adult Bible classes and we’re encouraging you to give one a try. This is your opportunity to grow in your understanding of God and to learn about serving from the Scriptures.”
Bible studies are good. We need to learn all we can about God. However, Pastor Jay has a few missteps in his strategy: 1) disciples are not attracted through a talk—not even preaching; 2) you don’t disciple people in a group like a Bible study; 3) it isn’t about getting people to “a class”; 4) discipling is not an academic exercise. It’s about a relationship. It begins by saying, “Come follow me.”
So who’s your project? Who are you discipling? Focus on these issues:
- Discipleship takes place, for the most part, in a relationship, not in an institutional classroom.
- We should all be in Bible study on a regular basis for our entire lives. However, the best discipling Bible study happens as one person leads another.
- Discipleship is all about on-the-job training, equipping a person to do the work of ministry.
- Discipleship follows an easy four-point plan: 1) I do, you watch; 2) I do, you help; 3) you do, I help; 4) you do, I watch.
- Can you name who you’re discipling at this moment in life? At any given time, to every Christian in your church, you are the model, the mentor. They’re your apprentice, disciple. You should be intentionally discipling one other person in the faith. They are your project.
- It’s about more than faith. It’s about life. Not just knowing, but doing.
- You can’t do group discipleship. Jesus was able to disciple 12, but most of us can only handle one or two at a time.
- Most discipling happens one-on-one through a long-term relationship. It’s not unusual for the disciple, in time, to start mentoring another, younger (or newer) Christian.
- Discipling is not a program, fad, gimmick, or task. It is spiritual DNA.
- When people are discipled, one of the characteristics is that they know how to disciple others. That is multiplication and it leads to an explosion of the Christian Movement.
So who’s your project? If you don’t have one, begin praying. Then start looking. Then begin discipling. You don’t have to go into all the details. Just begin by asking someone,
“Would you like to follow me?” That’s the way it has begun for centuries. Today we might say, “Want to hang out with me for a while? I’d like to show you how you can connect people to Jesus.”
If this sounds new or strange to you, then the question you need to ask is, “Who’s my mentor?” Change this and you change your church from an academic institution to an explosive movement.
Kent Hunter, founder of Church Doctor Ministries, is known as the Church Doctor. His most recent e-books are The Future Is Now and The J-Dog Journey, available at no cost. Contact him at (800) 626-8515, by email, Twitter, Facebook, or visit www.churchdoctor.org.