Seven ‘How to’ elements of Disciple-making
The first blog on disciple-making was on the selection process. The second blog was on creating a plan. This blog is focused on ‘how to’ work the plan. I will teach you seven needed elements to help lead your disciple from ‘here’ to ‘there’ or in other words from their current reality to their preferred future.
1. The first element is intentionality.
Jesus was very intentional. In Matthew 4:19 He invited the men He chose to drop what they were doing and follow Him. This is the same for you and your disciple. They will have to create time to follow you as you follow Jesus. It is wise to set a time and date to get together either weekly, bi-monthly, or monthly. I think it works best weekly, but it really depends on the circumstances and who you are discipling. Having this organized time together helps establish the relationship. Life gets busy. This is very important.
2. The second element is access.
Jesus said, "Come follow me..." As the disciple-maker you need to create ways to provide access to your life for those you are discipling. This is the ‘as you go’ process of disciple-making. This creates teachable moments as you do life together. You have heard it said, “More is caught than taught.” What areas can you invite those you are discipling into your life? I have some suggestions: Meals, shopping, hobbies, home improvement work, serving opportunities (your neighbors, your church, your community), morning coffee, entertainment (ball games).
3. The third element is what I call the ministry of presence.
Jesus modeled this by becoming one of us. He came to earth through the virgin birth. He is fully God, yet fully man. The writer of Hebrews says Jesus can sympathize with our weakness and in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. This will require you as the disciple-maker to have margin in your life to be with your disciple(s). This is where the disciple-maker pursues a relationship with the disciple just like Jesus came to us. The ministry of presence is giving your most valuable resource: TIME. It is showing up when they or one of their loved ones are sick. It is being at birthday parties or other life events. It is making the phone call or sending the text. It is sending the encouraging card or supporting the mission trip. This is powerful. Use it.
4. The forth element is prayer.
Jesus always spent time with His Father through prayer. He only did what the Father told Him to do. In John 17 it shows how Jesus prayed for His disciples. We have to remember only God causes the growth in a disciple’s life. You can plant seeds and you can harvest the crop, but only God causes the growth. Yet, prayer is so much more. Prayer is going to the Master disciple-maker and getting your marching orders directly from Him. The way we get our marching orders today is through prayer and the word of God. If you are not in the Word (Bible) and prayer disciple-making will not work! Period. This is a must in every disciple-making friendship.
5. The fifth element is the disciple-makers commitment.
Jesus made a commitment to His disciples recorded in Matthew 4:19, “Come follow me and I will MAKE YOU fishers of men.” What a powerful commitment. Here is the commitment I make to every disciple I coach:
6. The sixth element is to deliver content the disciple can learn, live out and pass on to others.
In Matthew 28:19-20 Jesus says, “Go make disciples… baptizing them… and teaching them all I have commanded you and surely I am with you always…” Jesus taught His disciples so that they understood His teaching and were able to live it out. Then, He told them to teach what they learned to others. This is a great example for us. Every disciple will be at a different stage spiritually. It is important to help each person connect the content (the Bible) to their life. I usually start with making sure each disciple knows the Milk of the Word found in Hebrews 5:11-6:2.
Good coaches go back to the fundamentals regularly. Each disciple needs to know, live, and be able to pass on the Milk of the Word before they can start digesting the meat, the teaching of righteousness. Think about about the needs of an infant, to a toddler, to a teenager, to an adult. This means each disciple needs to learn how to be a self feeder with the word of God. I start by helping them systematically read through the Bible on their own asking the Holy Spirit to teach them, while challenging them to have a way to hold themselves accountable to what they are learning. I am also available to help guide them and answer their questions.
7. The seventh element is pete and repeat.
What does this mean? The apostle Peter says in 2 Peter 3:1, “This is now the second letter that I am writing to you, beloved in both of them I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder.” This is a practice the apostle Paul did with his disciples too. He taught the same thing over and over again. Jesus was the ultimate master of pete and repeat. We must follow this practice too. People forget. It is common to have a disciple say to you, “Oh, I know that already.” Your reply should be, “Ok. Teach it to me.” They do not really know it until they can teach it. A true learner will want to keep learning it until they can live it out and pass it on to others.
I hope these seven elements will revolutionize your disciple-making. What element(s) do you need to work on? How will you incorporate these elements into your disciple-making friendships? We all are limited on time. This is why Jesus only discipled twelve men intentionally and then invested most his time into three men.
May you go with Jesus and put these elements into practice.
We will spend some time breaking down each of these elements more in-depth in the up coming blogs. Stay tuned!
How to Train Disciple-makers | The Plan
Once you have selected the people you are to train (disciple) what is your plan? A good plan lays out how to take someone from ‘here’ to ‘there’. In other words how to help each of your disciples determine their ‘current reality’ and their ‘preferred future’ and then how to close the ‘GAP’.
Ok, I need to clarify some terms. Determining your ‘current reality’ is the process of being honest about where you are at in your walk with Jesus right now. The hard part is many of us do not really know our current reality unless we look in a mirror and have the truth displayed for us. If you really want to know accurately ask your spouse or best friend. It takes work to find out honestly someone’s current reality. The process of helping someone become self aware is a big deal.
The ‘preferred future’ is the vision. It is what we want to be and do. Many churches will say they want to develop people into fully devoted followers of Jesus. Ok. Cool. But, what is a fully devoted follower of Jesus? A preferred future defines it clearly.
The ‘GAP’ is a acronym for growth, achievement, and progress. The gap between someone’s current reality and preferred future will look different for every individual. A master disciple-maker will know how to fill in the gap and train each disciple to move from here (current reality) to there (preferred future).
I have read many books on disciple-making and every book lays out a plan for how they think disciple-making works best, or they would not write the book. Every disciple-maker needs a plan. Trust me, I have been discipled by people without a plan and it does not take long before I’m giving them a plan or moving on.
What is my plan? I’m glad you asked.
Every good plan should start with the end in mind. So, I will start with the preferred future, the vision for what I want each disciple to do and be. There are six statements every person needs to do and be. I call them ‘we are…’ statements. Let’s see if they resonate with you.
I realize there are so many more statements I could included in my plan. Yet, I feel if we can get to these six goals we will win in life and so many other great things will overflow as a result of becoming and owning these six goals. Remember, less is more.
What would you write out for your preferred future? I took mine from my Dad. It is tried and true for over 40 years. Feel free to use it like it is yours.
After I lay out the big picture goals I go back to the starting line with each individual God gave me to disciple and help them determine their current reality in light of the preferred future. This takes some time. I actually crafted an evaluation sheet to help us do this easier and it provides a discussion platform in the beginning stages of meeting as a group to get to know each other. This step is very important and cannot be skipped.
Finally, I start filling in the gap and leading them down the pathway to get to the preferred future. This pathway I believe requires six very important practices and tools. Download all the content here.
To close I want to point out the most important part of the plan. You must trust the Holy Spirit provide the growth. Ultimately, as you lead, train, teach, coach, and spend time with each disciple you must be praying for them daily. This is the most important part of the plan and it gets skipped most often.
Take some time to figure out your plan. If you have not read my blog on the ‘selection process’ please take the time to read that here. Next, I will be writing about ‘how’ to work your plan with people from all different walks of life. This is not a cookie cutter approach, but instead a spirit led and relational approach to disciple-making. Ultimately discipleship is relationships.
Stop and pray. Make your list of people. Invite them into a disciple-making friendship with you. Lay out your plan. Jesus will never leave you of forsake you. Remember, if it is worth doing it is worth doing continually.
Matthew 28:19, “Go make disciples…”