Disciple-making requires access to your life. How do you train someone to live the way you do if they never hang out with you? I think this word “ACCESS” is so important. Access can be given to those you disciple many different ways today:
Giving access requires giving your time, treasure, and talents. It really is spiritual parenting. This is why disciple-making happens best in the context of family. Think about it. Children cost money and require tons of time and supernatural talents (my wife could wipe our baby's butt with one baby wipe and it took me almost the whole box). Disciple-making is like spiritual parenting. It requires access to your life and heart.
Look at the language in the Bible regarding disciple-making. It is familial language:
Romans 8:15-17 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.
Deuteronomy 6:4-9 / Psalm 78:1-8 / Proverbs 6:20 / 1 Corinthians 4:14-17 / Galatians 4:19 / Ephesians 6:1-4 / 2 Timothy 2:2 (pastor of local church family)
As you read through the verses above you may have felt overwhelmed with responsibility. This is why it’s difficult to disciple more than a small group at a time. I love the quote, “Do for one what you cannot do for many.” If every Christian knew it was their job to make disciple-makers it would change everything, especially the family.
My Dad relates disciple-making to shoveling snow. Imagine if there was a huge snow fall and a church family of about one hundred homes relied on the pastor to shovel their snow. The people who lived the closest to the pastor would be happy because they still might get to work on time. Yet, most would be stuck in their homes for days and would be very angry with the pastor because he could not shovel fast enough to meet their expectations.
Now, imagine if that pastor had taught each family in the church how to shovel their own snow before the first big snow fall, and even encouraged them to help someone else when they were done. Everyone in the church would be so happy because everyone would get to work on time and be taken care of in a timely manner. The pastor would even have a better sermon that week with all the extra study time.
This is how disciple-making works. The pastor does not have the time to disciple everyone. But, imagine if each parent was taught how to disciple their own child(ren) and then help others do the same. This truly changes everything.
Access starts at home with your family, then, it moves out to your sphere of influence. My wife likes it when I answer her phone calls and reply to her text messages right away. It shows her how much I value our relationship. I like how my Dad always answers my phone calls or calls me back within a couple hours after his meeting to check in. This shows value. Access is a powerful disciple-making tool.
Again, you cannot give access to everyone. This is why access starts in the home and then moves out into your sphere of influence. This is why you have to select who you will intentionally invest your time into for a season. For many of you this means only a few extra intentional disciple-making friendships outside your child(ren) and/or grandchild(ren).
Who will you give access to your life?
May you learn how to give ACCESS to those you are discipling in your life.
Four Steps to an Intentional Disciple-making Plan.
The Apostle Paul said, “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 11:1)
Disciple-making like Jesus doesn’t just happen. Paul learned it from Jesus. He then told the people in his sphere of influence to imitate him. And you and I are told to live lives worthy of imitation.
Is your life worth imitating? I remember someone saying, “You will not be a perfect example, but you will be a living example?” What you and I do actually matters.
Deuteronomy 6:-4-9 lays out an intentional plan for disciple-making in the family.
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”
First, love God with all your heart, soul, and might. You have to be all in. You have to have a relationship with God. You have to desire to be an imitator of Jesus.
Second, put the commands of God in your heart. You have to crave the word of God. You need to start reading the Bible. I would suggest systematically reading through the Bible. Start with the beginning in Genesis chapters one through eleven. Then, skip over to the New Testament and start in the gospel of Matthew. Read through the whole New Testament ending with the book of Revelation. Do this three times. And then start reading the Bible though from front to back. (check out this journal)
Third, teach your children when you sit in your house, when you drive around, when you put them to bed, and when you get up in the morning. Basically, all the time, as you go about your day.
I like the way one teacher broke this down and referred to intentionally training children in the ‘organic’ time and the ‘organized’ time of life. The organic time is as you drive around and as you hangout and do stuff together. The organized time is through daily devotions when you wake up and when you go to bed, or even around the dinner table.
What do you teach?
You teach everything the Lord has commended. You teach out of the overflow of what you are learning. What you receive from the word of God you pass on to others.
This takes intentionality. I’m reminded often that proper preparation prevents poor performance. Look at Deuteronomy 6:4-9 again. First, love God passionately. Then, put His word in your heart. You cannot give what you do not have. It starts with you and the overflow will happen. You will be able to teach your children when they wake up, eat around the dinner table, drive around, and go to bed.
Fourth, be creative. Put reminders all over the place, they help us learn. And don’t be afraid to say the same things over and over again. Recently I put together a list of quotable quotes my Dad said to us growing up. Maybe it will help you intentionally create a discipling culture in your home. Here is my top ten list (there are many more):
Be intentional. Do not leave disciple-making in the home to chance. Have a plan. Work your plan. Do not give up. It will be the hardest thing you do. You will experience spiritual battles because you’re in a war for the hearts of your children. But, you have every resource for victory available to you.
We offer a plan for you. Check out our Life Plan for every family and local church. Check out the tools we have created for you on our website. Let us know how we can help you. Send us a message.
May you be intentional.