This weekend we are coming off the 4th annual IF:Gathering, and the central topic was one of my favorites…discipleship. About 8 months ago, a small group of women with a shared burden met in a living room to discuss how to create a culture of discipleship in our church. Ever since that first meeting, we have seen God work to form and grow discipleship relationships in women at Wells Branch Community Church, and it is so cool to watch. At IF this weekend, Jennie Allen gave the charge to keep our calling simple and small by loving Jesus and making disciples. (Also saying that we don’t need to write blogs, so I’m obviously ignoring her advice as I sit here and type up this post. :))
In response to her charge, I have had several conversations (as well as eavesdropping on others), and heard three “themes” or questions emerge: who, how, and what? I am by no means a disciple making expert (I have failed at this much more often than I have succeeded), but I have picked up on the wisdom of others and hope to help answer these important questions on how to make a disciple of Jesus.
Who do I disciple?
There is no formal matchmaking process for this. Rather, I would ask yourself a series of questions like this: Who is in my community group? Who do I serve in ministry with? Who is a step behind me in my faith? Who do I desire to see grow in their love and obedience for Jesus? Prayerfully ask yourself those questions, and see who God brings to mind.
How do I initiate the relationship?
Embrace the awkwardness of it all. There’s really not a super eloquent way to do it, so I would just skip the small talk and get straight to the point – “Hey I think you’re awesome and would like to spend time discipling you. Would you be up for that?” Hopefully they say yes, and from there, together decide a time, place, and frequency to meet.
What material do we cover?
Healthy discipleship relationships should include the key elements of prayer, confession, accountability, Bible reading, and application. As far as a book goes, here are a few suggestions:
- Any book of the Bible is obviously an excellent choice
- Patterns for Discipleship by Cindy Hawks
- The Four Priorities by Dr. John Tolson & Larry Kreider
- Studies put out by IF:Equip – Anno Domini, Woven, I Believe.
Bottom line – keep it simple, and just go for it. It will be messy along the way, but I promise it will be worth it. There is no better way to spend our lives than investing in others and the eternal kingdom of Jesus. I believe in us!
Until next time,
P.S. – For a general overview on the theology of disciple making, I strongly recommend Discipling: How to Help Others Follow Jesus by Mark Dever. This is a quick, easy read that help clear up disciple making for me.