Monday, December 31

How to make disciples

Please watch this short video clip "How NOT to make disciples" as an intro for the rest of this post on "How TO make disciples."

So if we know (have memorized) what it is Jesus said to do, why don't we make disciples? What is so hard about obeying?

I think there are at least two issues that need to be dealt with:
1) we are distracted by the many other good activities going on in our lives,
2) we don't know what to actually do to "make disciples"
Both of these can be overcome.

Awareness. The first thing needed is to become aware of where our time is going. One of Satan's most effective tools is to distract us by filling our time with a lot of good activities. Many of these fall under the category of entertainment. They aren't bad or sinful, but have a way of side-tracking us from engaging eternal matters.  Hour by hour, how are we spending our days?  Once we are more aware of what is pulling us away from making disciples, we can eliminate--or at least reduce--a great many things freeing us for intentional discipleship making.

Doing is doing.  As Leo Babauta writes,
It’s not knowledge of what to do that’s stopping us. That’s usually fairly simple:

If you want to lose weight, eat fewer calories and move more. If you want to be healthier, eat more veggies, beans, nuts, fruits, etc. If you want to be in better shape, exercise.
But that’s not what we do. Here’s what we do instead:

We read about various programs.
We talk about it a lot.
We put off doing it and go do something else.
We feel guilty, and then push it to the back of our minds.
We finally decide to take action, so we read and talk about it some more.

Reading isn’t doing.
Talking isn’t doing.
Doing is doing.
So what’s stopping us from doing the doing?  How do I go about actually discipling somebody?

Process. Come up with some kind of process for making disciples. For me, it is the same process whether the person is a not-yet-believer, a new believer, or an old believer.

1) establish a relationship with the person
2) begin modeling/teaching the "10 Commandments of Jesus" making sure each is not only memorized, but implemented--doing is doing.
3) release the disciple when they have begun steps 1 & 2 with someone else.

Intentionally befriend or choose 1-2 people to spend time with every month. Teach them by personal example to obey these commandments. The first three in the list will take the most time. Use the list as a "discipleship outline." Try not to rush through the list. Knowledge is not the goal, obedience is. The first three need to be integrated into every disciple's lifestyle before proceeding on to the rest of the commandments.

1) Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength...

2) You shall love your neighbor as yourself. [The Great Commandment: Matthew 22:37-40, Mark 12:28-31.]

3) Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you. [The Great Commission: Matthew 28:19-20.]

4) one another. [The New Commandment: John 13:34-35, 15:12.]

5) first His kingdom and His righteousness... [The Priority commandment for every believer: Matthew 6:33.]

6) this in remembrance of Me... [The Lord's Supper: Luke 20:14-20, 1 Corinthians 12:23-26.]

7) ...wash one another's also should do as I did to you... [The Great Example Commandment: John 13:14-15.]

8) Abide in Me... [The Commandment that is the secret to a fruitful life: John 15:4-8.]

9) ...beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest...[The only specific request Christ commanded his disciples to pray besides the Lord's Prayer: Luke 10:2, Matthew 9:38.]

10) your good to those who hate you...bless those who curse you...pray for those who mistreat not pass not condemn...pardon...give... [General teachings of Jesus (commandments) for victorious living: Luke 6:27-38.]

One final word. Remember, making disciples equals spending time with those disciples. Whatever you do, teach, model, if time is not invested in the person, it is doubtful you will end up with a disciple.


ReVoLuTiOnArY TeNdEnCiEs said...

Good stuff Guy. Thanks for sharing!

J. Guy Muse said...

Thanks ReVTeN: One of the questions we use frequently with one another is to ask about those we are discipling. This way if we have become laxed, it brings us back to reality of keeping the main things the main things.

Anonymous said...

very awesome man!

Cody Smith said...

I really appreciate the opportunity to discuss discipleship with others who are trying to make it work. For me the beginning and the end seems to abide in getting some level of understanding of Matthew 22:37. I believe most people are willingly distracted (as mentioned) because we are by nature selfish and self centered, while making disciples requires of us the opposite which is loving sacrifice. Loving God with my all gets me straightened out; When he is really number one, then, and perhaps only then, am I able to truly love others enough to be effective at making true disciples. This is my understanding, but my efforts to reproduce this in others is not particularly successful. Your thoughts please...

J. Guy Muse said...


For me, it goes back to the 3 points in the discipleship process. The first is to establish a relationship with those we hope to disciple. Without this first step, the rest won't happen.