Face-to-Face and Shoulder-to-Shoulder
I've talked a lot recently about making disciples. I'm struck by the fact that Jesus told his followers to go "make" disciples, not "find" disciples.
Once upon a time someone stumbled upon my blog because they did a Google search for “how to shorten the discipleship process.” Which prompted me to immediately write a blog post on how the discipleship process cannot be shortened. And if that’s what you are looking for then you are in the wrong business. This isn’t FedEx. It’s not even the Pony Express. It’s discipleship. The life-long pursuit of God and invitation to others to follow you in that process.
In the Great Commission, Jesus instructed us to go into all the world and make disciples…
As leaders, we think we are accepting that challenge, but in reality, we are trying to find disciples. Jesus said go make disciples not go find disciples.
If the people in our groups are not growing, it's our fault. If we get discouraged after one month or one year or even three, we haven't yet grasped that discipleship takes time. Twelve Galilean guys spent three focused years with Jesus himself and still didn't show up for the prayer meeting on the most important night in history.
We often look for disciples. We look for a potential leader. We hope to find someone with maturity and gifts that we can raise up. We forget that Jesus told us to go make them. Not find them. If you can't find a potential leader in your group, in your ministry, or on your team, it's not their fault. Don't blame them for being immature or needing to grow. It's your fault. It's my fault. We are supposed to make disciples. And making disciples is long, hard work.
The only way to measure success in discipleship is by looking at reproduction. At multiplication. Two verses continually serve as guideposts for me.
2 Timothy 2:2- "You have heard me teach things that have been confirmed by many reliable witnesses. Now teach these truths to other trustworthy people who will be able to pass them on to others." Discipleship is about shared truths. It's passing on what God has taught us to another. This is the environment of face to face discipleship.
1 Thessalonians 2:8- "We loved you so much that we shared with you not only God’s Good News but our own lives, too." Discipleship is also about doing life together. It's about shared experiences. It's about inviting them into the opportunities and activities that you do and letting them be a part of them and learn with you and from you. It's the environment of shoulder-to-shoulder discipleship.