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!