The first month of being a brand-new parent was rough. Rough is an understatement. It was actually what I imagine hell to be like – filled with confusion, weird smells, and overwhelming feelings of fear. I’m joking. But honestly, it was hard. We were surrounded by brand-new parents, but it was different trying to be one ourselves. We never knew if we were doing the right thing. There were always fears of messing up. Each day that passed, we knew that God had been gracious to us in spite of our inabilities and insecurities.
Discipleship is not very different. The thought of making disciples may be frightening to you. There may be all sorts of questions: What makes you qualified? What could you possibly teach someone else about Jesus? What if you mess up? Am I ready to invest into someone else?
Jesus, however, seems fairly straight-forward about discipleship. He doesn’t teach us that it is the call of the super-mature or super-qualified. Instead, if you’re a Christian, you’re a disciple. And if you’re a disciple, you are called to make disciples (Matt 28:18-20).
On Sunday, Pastor Ajay gave us some preliminary thoughts to consider in becoming a disciple-maker:
- Are you a disciple of Jesus? You can’t lead someone to Jesus if you don’t know Him yourself. If you’re not a disciple of Jesus, then you’re not being invited to make disciples. Instead, Jesus is inviting you to first become a disciple.
- Accept that He has commanded you to make disciples. If you are a disciple, then making disciples is not optional. This is a part of God’s design for all believers – whether you’re a baby Christian or have been one for years.
- Pray and ask God to show you who He wants you to be discipling. For some, there may be relationships that already exist in your life that now need disciple-making intentionality. For others, there may be new relationship being forged with this purpose. Either way, commit to asking the Lord for a person you can invest into.
- Make disciples. Making disciples requires us to move from hearers to doers. It will be hard. There will be questions. And yet, your love for Jesus leads you to obey His command.
And so the next logical question is, how? How do you actually do the work of disciple making? What does this look like in real life? Here are 6 things to help you get started:
- Tattoo this to your forehead: “I am with you always” (Matt. 28:20). I think it’s fitting that Jesus concludes his command to make disciples with these words. Jesus doesn’t command us and then tell us to figure it out. Instead, He has promised to be with us. The Holy Spirit abides within us. Convicting us. Guiding us. Leading us to truth. Giving us words. Searching our hearts. Discipleship is only made possible because of God’s presence with us. Disciple-makers need to depend on Him daily.
- Invest time. You can’t disciple someone that you don’t spend time with. Don’t be tempted to see this as another thing to add to your to-do list. Discipleship doesn’t require you to quit your job or rearrange your entire life, but to live it with intentionality. Maybe it is early morning coffee before starting work. Maybe it’s eating 1 of 21 your meals during the week with this person. Maybe it’s watching the game together. Whatever it is, invite them to be a regular observer and participator in your life.
- Share your life and the gospel. Making disciples doesn’t have to mean that you are now leading a Bible study. Sure, it involves communicating truth but it also means sharing your life. When the gospel transforms us, it will be evident in the way we live. Your life (your words and your actions) will inevitably rub off on the one you disciple.
- Show them your successes and your failures. We are not called to make disciples of ourselves, but of Jesus. This frees us from feeling the need to be perfect. Showing others your success gives them the opportunity to see God’s work in your life. Showing them your failures simply provides another opportunity to show them Jesus, who remains perfect when we are not.
- Don’t be a scholar or scared. You won’t have all the answers, neither are you expected to. Being willing to admit when you don’t know something is not a sign of failure. At the same time, don’t devalue what you do know. You are a disciple because you have believed the gospel. The truths of what you have believed are some of the very things that others need to hear.
- Learn more about discipleship. “What to Expect When Your Expecting” has sold millions of copies because new parents want to learn as much about parenting as they can. Discipleship should be the same. No one is a perfect disciple-maker out of the gate. It takes learning and maturing. Here are some resources to help you with that: