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 form 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. 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…”
How to Train Disciple-Makers | The Selection Process
One of the first Bible verses my Dad taught me was Matthew 4:19, “Come follow me and I will make you fishers of men.” I thought this meant, "Come follow Daddy..." ha. This became a life verse for me. In a church culture where it seems disciple-making is a lost art I go back to this verse to see ‘how’ Jesus trained disciple-makers.
So many of us have been taught the Bible. We have studied the Bible for years on Sunday morning, in Bible studies, and even in the quite of our own home. Yet, we do not know how to make a disciple like Jesus. Inviting someone to church is awesome and part of the process, but I want to draw us back to the way of Jesus.
The first step gets lost most of the time, the selection process. How did Jesus select the people he was going to spend over half of his time with? We must get this right friends.
Let’s back up a bit and look at Luke 6:12, “…Jesus went out to the mountain to pray, and all night he continued in prayer to God.” Also, in John 5:30 Jesus says he only does what his Father tells him to do. Jesus went out to pray and ask his Father who he should select to be part of his discipleship group. Then, he went out and selected his disciples just as the Father commanded him. What a powerful act of obedience.
Who is on your prayer list? Who is God leading you to select to intentionally invest your life into and train to be a disciple-maker? Do you have a list?
Once you have your short list let’s look at ‘how’ Jesus made the invite. This is crucial. He went to each person and gave an invitation and a challenge with a vision for what could be and should be. It was short and sweet.
Jesus said, “Come follow me and I will make you fishers of men.” Let’s break this down.
What a powerful invitation, “come.” He invited people into His daily life. This implies the person he invited has to stop doing something in order to start a new relationship with Jesus. This also implies Jesus is going to make time to invite the person into his life. Jesus is giving access to his life. Disciple-making requires ACCESS.
Jesus is challenging the person to go where he goes and do as he does. This is a commitment. It is a challenge to do as Jesus does, to learn from Jesus, to live like Jesus and to pass on to others what Jesus is teaching.
This is vision with a plan. Make them implies Jesus was able to train them, lead them, transform them into something greater. This is a plan for growth and real life change.
“Fishers of Men.”
This is the vision of what could be and should be. Jesus was talking to fishermen here. These guys knew the time and intensity it takes to become an expert fisherman. This was no small ask. This was huge. They were going to have to leave everything and follow Jesus. This was a new and higher calling.
Do you have a selection process to your plan to train disciple-makers? What do you learn from Jesus through this powerful verse, “Come follow me and I will make you fishers of men.”?
Are you willing to just take whoever wants to hang out with you?
Are you going to be like Jesus and listen to the Father and then invite who He tells you to invite into a closed small group of gender specific people to invest your precious time into daily?
Why do we not follow the model of Jesus more today? What stops you from doing what Jesus did?
Start a short list and pray over the names God gives you for a week or two. Don't forget, if you have children you already have one group in your home, bonus. Your family is your highest priority. Every man is the pastor of his home.
One more thought, don't forget some of the people you invite into your group may say no. Even Jesus was rejected. Don't let this stop you. Keep pursuing your assignment. All of us are commanded to go and make disciples. God will help you.
Once you make the invite and have your small group of men to invest into what will be your plan? Keep reading through the blog. It will help you answer this question.