Discipleship is what Jesus was all about during his time on earth and discipleship is what he commissioned His church to be about with our time on earth. At the conclusion of His ministry, right before His ascension, Jesus gave a final command to His disciples: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20). This command is still in play for all believers until it is accomplished or Christ returns.
This is a fairly well-known verse, but believers often struggle to obey this command in their daily lives. Part of the problem is we don’t really know what a disciple is, therefore we don’t know how to make one. Simply put, a disciple is one who imitates Jesus in every facet of life. In 1 Corinthians 11:1 Paul said to a struggling church, “Imitate me as I imitate Christ.” So, if we are going to make disciples, we are going to make imitators of Jesus to make imitators of Jesus who make imitators of Jesus, etc.
To effectively make disciples, we ourselves need to imitate Jesus and invite others to do the same. This is only possible if we have been given new life in Christ through faith. We then set out to imitate him in every area of our life. This comes through living by faith, being a student of God’s word, gathering with the church regularly, repenting and confessing sin, and depending on the Holy Spirit for transformation.
We have 2 tools to help you grow you in your faith and imitate Christ. These tools are also used in our Membership Class as well.
Second Nature Life Stories – Learn to share God’s Story of the Gospel and Your Story of faith in the Gospel.
Second Nature Lifestyle – Think intentionally and practically about how you will commit yourself to God and his church by growing to become more like Christ and living on mission for his kingdom.
It’s been said, “You can teach what you know, but you reproduce what you are.” This
is true in parenting and this is true in discipleship. Imitating Jesus in every area of our life gives us our best chance of truly making disciples who will make disciples.
As you make disciples, we must be intentional to focus ourselves and our disciples on God and the Gospel. This occurs through Bible reading, memorization, and discussion. You may choose to read books with your disciple that help clarify who God is and what he has done. If you need some suggestions, check out ourRecommended Books List. You may also want a tool to walk your disciple through lessons to help them grow in their faith and understanding. Many of us use a tool called The Downline Builder which enables you to customize material for your disciple focused on what they need at the time.
Disciple the Lost
We must be intentional to make disciples and share the gospel with those who are in our oikos. Oikos is a Greek word meaning “extended household” and describes those people in our sph
ere of influence who God has determined for us to be around to show and share the gospel (Acts 17:26). We have to be intentional to intercede for them, invest in them, impact them, and invite them to follow Christ. Every follower of Christ is called share the gospel with others. We don’t have to share with everyone, but we must be willing to share with anyone! Click here if you want to know more about oikos.
Disciple to Multiply
The Apostle Paul told his disciple Timothy “what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” (2 Timothy 2:2) We multiply ourselves in others by finding faithful, available, and teachable men and women who we can invest in and thus multiply ourselves.
We show and share truth of the gospel with them by sharing meals, advice, prayers, Scripture, activities, good times, bad times, etc. This is how Jesus shared His gospel, so this is how we should also share it. Multiplication happens when we choose to share our lives with someone in such a way that causes them to do the very same thing. Then they find another faithful man or women and invest in them to multiply themselves. We do all this in hopes that the process continues.
As a church, our plan for discipleship occurs in missional groups. Missional groups are groups of members of our church that meet in homes weekly to focus on Gospel Application, Relational Community, and Missional Living. These groups are led by leaders in our church who have a desire to look more and more like Jesus everyday and are passionate about helping others do the same! Missional group leaders are responsible for creating an atmosphere for discipleship with those in their group and those their oikos.
As a church, we also believe parents are foundational in discipling their children in all aspects of life. That being said, we want to help disciple and equip parents to be able to disciple their children well. We come along side our parents to teach kids the Gospel on Sunday mornings and at missional groups and hope to reinforce what they are learning in their home. As children grow older, we hope that parents will help them to engage in other discipleship relationships outside the home with other trusted disciple makers in the church.
We use the word DISCIPLER and an acronym to help us see the process of discipleship played out. Discipleship isn’t finished until the disciple can replicate themselves and this process in others. Short of that, multiplication doesn’t happen, just addition.
D | Designate | Designate faithful, available, and teachable men and women.
I | Integrate | Integrate your life with them.
S | Simulate | Simulate the model of Christ for them.
C | Communicate | Communicate the truths of the gospel.
I | Illustrate | Illustrate the truths of the gospel.
P | Participate | Let them participate in living out and sharing the gospel with others.
E | Evaluate | Evaluate their life to help them better imitate Christ.
R | Replicate | Send them out to replicate themselves in others through multiplication.