I’ve touched on the issue of discipleship over the past few months basically explaining how important it was. I never really went into lengthy details about discipleship, but that’s what I’ll share about this month.
When you hear the word disciple, what comes to mind? A picture of an actor from a movie about someone who followed Y’shua? Maybe someone who is really ‘spiritual’? Maybe someone who has memorized many passages from the Word? Someone who has a MDiv?
All of those could be true but not necessarily. For example, I have friends who’ve attended seminary and had professors with doctorates in theology and other Biblical studies that weren’t believers in Y’shua. A masters or doctorate in divinity doesn’t automatically mean you are a disciple. What if we’ve been looking at discipleship erroneously?
Let’s get into this month’s theme. A lot of leaders equate knowledge with maturity. The goal is to give as much information as possible in order to produce a greater amount of maturity. This is how many leaders view discipleship or discipling.
I’m all for gaining knowledge, but we must be careful that we are gaining knowledge for the right reasons. If you think about it, Y’shua passed up the most qualified scripturally literate candidates as being His disciples. Knowing 2,000+ verses from the Scriptures by heart, doesn’t automatically make you are a disciple. The objective is not to know but doing something with what you know. Apply your knowledge.
Matthew 28:19a Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations,
I didn’t see this until recently. Where in that verse does it say we are to “be” disciples? It clearly says that we are to MAKE disciples so of course one must be a disciple in order to make. My point is there has to come a time where we as individuals move from “being” a disciple to “making” disciples.
Making disciples requires evangelism. I know in some religious circles that is a dirty word. I understand that the Spirit of YHVH calls us. I’m not talking about going door to door asking folks where they will go when they die. I’m not talking about street preaching evangelism either. I’m talking about book of Acts evangelism. Evangelism where believers were living and sharing their faith with those around them through their good deeds because they knew what they were supposed to be doing. I see it being that simple.
Making disciples requires a lot of patience. People make mistakes. Stop for a moment and think how patient YHVH has been with you. This is one area I’ve had to work on while discipling others. When you know how to do something and you teach someone else, the temptation is to wonder why their first try around they can’t do it exactly like you do it. Making disciples requires a lot of patience. For parents out there, discipling is very similar to raising children. It requires a lot of patience.
Making disciples requires a long term investment. This is where and why relationship is important. We all grow at different rates and in different measures. I wish it were linear like a progressive 4 step process. It doesn’t work that way in the Kingdom. This long term investment will not bring a quick return, but it does have an eternal reward.
If you disciple others to not make the same mistakes you made, you can help them reach a place of maturity faster than it took you. Now your disciples can go accomplish more and produce more fruit than you did in less time. This investment continues to produce fruit on your behalf even when you are no longer around.
Y’shua took twelve men over two thousand years ago and intentionally invested. That investment today has grown to two billion plus believers. When we intentionally commit to investing in the lives of people, especially those who are younger than us, the numbers get bigger and bigger. Whose life have you been investing in lately?
If you are waiting on an step one, step two, step three plan, I don’t have one. I was discipled grass roots through having a relationship with my mentor. There was no 1,2,3 step process. There was a mission and goals but it was still organic. It was like on the job training discipleship. This style of discipleship is more directional instead of destination focused. It entails high accountability. My mentor always pointed me towards Y’shua and had an exceptional witness. That was his directional approach.
On the other hand, a lot of churches use the destination method when discipling. The destination style of discipleship is more of a copy cat method. It entails low accountability. The idea is that if people go through all these different programs, they will eventually become spiritually mature. For example, leaders go to a conference or take something from a book and apply it at their fellowships. This style of discipleship in my opinion isn’t as effective as directional because there is low accountability. What normally happens is folks start a copy cat program and months or a year later have to eventually move on to another program because of low accountability. Low accountability doesn’t bring about spiritual maturity.
I wish there were an easy cookie cutter 1,2,3 step process to bring about spiritual maturity. Discipleship is a lengthy detailed process. It costs you to disciple and to be a disciple.
Y’shua chose twelve men. He walked with them. He taught them how to be pleasing to YHVH. He taught them how to sever. He taught them how to give. He taught them how to pray. He taught them how to rightly divide the Word. The list goes on and on, but in the end it’s about a close relationship.
The body of Y’shua had several generations slip through the cracks because of poor discipleship. I believe we can make a difference through real discipleship. There are tons of ministry opportunities out there right now.
I’ve shared this before, but this next generation to come doesn’t know much about church or religion. I see Gen Z as a huge mission field that can be reached before being tainted by religion or denominationalism.
Now is the time that we all do our part and obey Y’shua’s command to go and MAKE disciples. I want to encourage each and every one of you to commit to discipling at least one person this year. Let’s take our knowledge and do something with it for a change other than wearing it on our sleeve. Blessings.