The topic is discipleship. I read Francis Chan’s book Multiply and it got me to thinking. Do we struggle with a practical definition of a disciple? What about the term disciple-maker? I see a disciple as one who has accepted God’s invitation to become a Christ follower and as a follower their life is distinguished by loving, learning, sharing and modeling. To take that a step further, I see a disciple-maker as one who inspires another to follow Christ, to love Jesus, to know His love and in turn inspires another to the same practice. While I delineate between a disciple and a disciple-maker in this article, I believe them to be one in the same. I don’t think you can truly be a disciple without being a disciple-maker nor can you be a disciple-maker without first being a disciple.
We’re called to be disciples. Disciples are learners, pupils and apprentices. We’re students of Jesus and not just for head knowledge but also for life’s practice. And as a disciple, I’m commissioned to make other disciples. Read Matthew 28:18-20. There’s an obligation to disciple-making. What does that mean? It means I’m to make more students, learners, pupils and apprentices. I’m not making mini-mes, but I’m to make Christ followers.
While there’s a lot of advice about disciple-making out there, I believe there are some essentials both revealed in Scripture and exampled by Jesus. Read Mark 3:13-15. Jesus called those He wanted to come to Him. He was deliberate in choosing whom he’d invest into and disciple. Jesus connected with these twelve that He might be with them. He knew the value of considerable connection. Jesus would live, teach, share, model and demonstrate faith for these men. This ultimately was a three-year commitment. Finally, Jesus would send them out to preach and with the authority to drive out demons. Jesus gave them permission to practice what they’d learned. Disciple-making is deliberate, commits time and requires opportunities to practice one’s faith.
The gist of this whole disciple-making thing, I think it’s much easier than we make it. Find someone to invest into either for a season or a lifetime. Share faith, experience, truth and its application. Give your faith away to another, and another and another. Make apprentices and followers after Christ giving them permission to live faith – their faith. This is disciple-making and it’s our calling.
Go and make disciples – Christ followers.