Making Disciples that Make Disciples


written by Pastor Justin Brown
Discipleship. We hear that word thrown around a lot in western churchianity. Almost always it relates to a curriculum, program or a process. But what is it really? What does it mean, and how does one become a disciple of Jesus Christ? First and foremost, when we use the term disciple/ discipleship we must start with a biblical understanding of what a disciple is.

A disciple was and is someone who wholeheartedly submits to the authority and teaching of another.

Not only do they learn, but they put into practice what they have learned. For one that proclaims to be a disciple, a follower of Jesus Christ, this means that that they have placed their faith in Jesus Christ as the only means of salvation, repented (turned) from their sin and now follow Jesus and His teachings as revealed through the Bible.

Not only are professing believers in Christ called to be disciples, but we are also called to make disciples.  
Matthew 28:18-20
And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in[b] the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Above are the final words of Jesus Christ to His disciples (followers), often called the Great Commission (though often practiced as the great suggestion). Go and make disciples. Teaching others what He taught them. Live a life that reflects Christ in all things. Did you catch that? Jesus Christ, The Incarnate Word of God, The only Son of God, the sinless lamb that takes away the sins of the world, uses some of His last minutes on earth to tell His disciples to go make disciples.
I have been in ministry long enough to know that we generally don’t take this as serious as we should. We can become more focused on programs, buildings, worship services and experience, offering plates, politics, etc.

In fact, it is easier to focus on those things than to invest in another person’s life, to see them grow and mature in Christ.  Why? A lot of it has to do with our culture (including in the church) we want to see instant results, we want an a+b=c formula. The truth is, there is no one size fits all.  

The Bible does give us some pretty good indications on how disciples are made.  Though there are several, let's outline three ways that disciples are made:

1. A commitment to God’s Word. Not just the hearing and reading, but the practice of it as well. The scripture says be kind, be kind. (compassion, truthful, at peace with others, care for widows and orphans, etc.) Whatever fill in the blank you use, be obedient to scripture.

2. Live life together. No disciple was created to spend just an hour a week with other people, then to go about their own business. We as a people are to quick to discount the fellowship of other believers for what we want to do. There is a biblical term for that (it is called selfishness). We were created to live life with one another, to see the kingdom grow for the Glory of God. You won’t see that by living the Christian life alone.

3. Willing to get messy. We, in the western world, have a tendency to want to keep everything squeaky clean. We outline who we will and won’t talk to, where we will and won’t go, and will only invest our time and other resources if they fit into our compartmentalized Christianity. We need to be willing to go wherever, whenever, and to whosoever. One final thought that I encourage you to ponder: Are you making disciples that make disciples? If not, why?

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