Becoming A Disciple Maker (Pt 2)
In my previous post, I argued we have an incorrect perspective of what discipleship is, often equating it to simply growing in our knowledge of God (Read it here). In this article, I’ll briefly discuss how to become a true disciple: a disciple-maker.
The way many of us participate in following Christ is with the mindset of a student. The older adult, pastor, staff, and programs are there to give us information, to fill our minds with more understanding, and to remind us of truth. In a world constantly trying to pull us away from Christ, the church and our faith function simply as an anchor to keep us grounded. In other words, we are committed to only following, never leading others.
Where Should Our Faith Be Aiming?
We should never stop following Christ. Following Christ is the epitome of what we are called to do. Still, the definition of following isn’t restricted to passive inactivity. To abide in Christ is the core responsibility and response of a disciple.
In John 15, Jesus states: “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”
The starting point and continuum of becoming a disciple-maker is abiding in Christ. To enter into the next part of the discussion with anything less than a heart that loves Jesus and desires to follow Him will end in failure. This is because the motivation and strength of disciple-making has to be rooted in a conviction of dependence on God. This is where our faith starts, and this is where faith finds its strength- in weakness. Abiding in Christ means giving up your own production, your own strength, and instead, being dependent on God for Him to work through you. When we are dependent on God, we can be confident that He is working through us as we grow and as we disciple others.
Student or Teacher?
In Luke 6:40, Jesus says: “A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone, when he is fully trained, will be like his teacher.” The principle of discipleship is captured in this one sentence. Let’s break this down.
“A Disciple” simply means a “learner/pupil.” Stopping with this definition is dangerous because this is exactly where most Christians live. Learning is crucial, but it is not the end goal of a disciple.
“Is not above his teacher.” Jesus is speaking about a teacher/ disciple relationship in a way that points back to Himself. As Christians, he is our teacher. We are to both learn from Him and model our lives after Him.
“When He is fully trained” comes with an assumption there is an end to the training. Not that we never stop learning and growing, but there is limited training time, then the disciple is ready to…
“Be like the teacher.” What is the distinguishing difference between the student and the teacher? One is a receiver of information and training, and one is distributing information and training. Here we see the end goal of discipleship: To be a disciple-maker. To be like the teacher…meaning you TEACH.
So, if this is the complete picture of what a disciple is, let’s look back on what it means to become a true disciple- a disciple-maker:
Learn Truth from the teacher: Spend time with God, in His Word, learning about Him and from Him.
Learn how to teach/ lead others from the teacher: Seek training for replication, not just knowledge.*
*The training should be with the goal of training others. Training includes how to pursue a deeper relationship with God, How to properly handle His Word, How to use your spiritual gifts, and how to disciple others and spread the Good News. With this challenge, I have to ask you to evaluate: When you go to church, when you are part of a Bible study, when you are in a community group… are you there, are you learning, with an eagerness to be trained to pour into others, helping others develop or find faith in Jesus?
Gearing Up To Go Out
I think our perspective needs to change. We need to abide in Christ, learning and growing with an expectation that everything we are learning is both for us personally and for us to disciple others… and then we need to actually disciple others. Without this change, many will continue to consume information, never actually becoming like the teacher- a disciple-maker.
A Practical Tool
I’ve written a book to help you become a disciple-maker. It is now available for pre-order on Amazon. In it, I’ll walk you through:
FAITH FULL: A Practical Guide to Fully Living Out Your Faith,
How to read the Bible properly
How to engage in the spiritual disciplines
Learning and using your spiritual gifts
How to disciple others
How to evangelize
I’ve written this book in a way that will both help you grow your faith and help you grow the faith of others. You can read through the book with others and talk through the questions at the end of each chapter to guide you in teaching others how to fully live out their faith. In other words- it’s a tool you can use to be a disciple-maker.