Focuses in Discipleship
for The Discipler
"Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." - Mathew 28:19-20
How Do I Sow Into The Lives Of The Ones I Disciple?
When I get the opportunity and privilege to begin discipling another person, whether a Christian or a new believer, I want to sow into their lives by being...
STRATEGIC in what I choose to teach, model, and focus on, at any particular time
There's so many things about following Jesus that I could choose to do and focus on with this disciple at any given time but I must remember that I am laying a solid foundation of faith. This is the ground work for a healthy and established relationship with God to thrive and to lead to transformation, over time. By this, I mean yes, for example, you could talk about spiritual warfare but why would you when the disciple is just barely beginning to learn about prayer? Pacing here is required as well. You can't throw too much to work on or think about because little will stay.
HONORING to what God is doing in that person
The Holy Spirit is already at work in that person and is already speaking to them, giving them specific interests to pursue for spiritual growth, and causing questions to arise about what this walk with Jesus will look like in the context of his/her particular life. I am therefore listening to the actual person I get to disciple, and getting them to communicate what they are sensing from God. When discipleship connects to the disciple's personal spiritual growth pursuits and interests (example: "I am interested in learning more about prayer"), and to what God may be speaking to them, they will be more willing to embrace and put into practice what they are learning.
OBEDIENT to God's Leading
I am listening to what God may be directing me to do, share, model, etc. for that disciple. The truth is there are things or areas of their life for which the disciple has no idea, experience, or insight. They may be blind to certain things, or be Biblically off in some Bible truth, doctrine, and/or approach to life. I point these out as spiritual red flags go up, but I do it with gentleness, sensitivity, and winsomeness. Finally, part of being obedient to God's leading is to be regularly in prayer for this disciple, that the life of Christ may be formed in them. My investment into this person, especially through prayer, is a most important part of being obedient to Christ a disciple-maker.
What Are Some Important Practices For Me, The Discipler?
Pray Regularly For Those You Disciple
Model For Them What You Teach
Do not depend on teaching alone to establish godly and spiritual habits in them. Walk them through it by actually first modeling how you would do it and then having them do it with you there.
Revisit/Reteach, Reference, & Apply What You Teach/Model, Over Time
When you have taught concepts, modeled and practiced tools, habits, etc., make sure you revisit these again in ensuing days, and begin using them from then on in your discipleship meetings. Make reference to them regularly. Do not make the mistake to assume that from one encounter, those habits, tools, or understandings have been deeply rooted and put to good use. If, for example, you teach them to pray, show them how you pray for a particular situation. Then have them put it to use themselves.
Help Them See The Big Picture
For everything you cover, help the disciple see the value of it and how it will impact their lives and the lives of the ones they will disciple. Show them how it connects to other truths or practices already covered.
Integrate And Make Connections (rather than compartmentalize)
For example, when I teach and model the Discovery Bible Study, I make sure the disciples understands that DBS is excellent tool for learning to hear God (What is God speaking to me through this passage?). Or I can emphasize how memorizing Scripture is so helpful to hearing God for self and for prophesying over people, that God can used these readily available verses to speak in the moment.
Share Your Own Past Struggles And Revelations
Help your disciple(s) see the pitfalls in the potential areas they might encounter, such as the ones you encountered in the past. Help them see how God revealed truth to help you overcome and grow from these. Help them develop a paradigm for failure, struggles, temptations, etc. Help them value transparency in their walk with God, that it is not about perfection but about honesty and dependency on God. Don't just share your "glory" stories (powerful ways God revealed Himself and broke through a trying situation), share your struggles and lessons learned.
Share What You Are Presently Doing To Grow
Model a dynamic relationship with God that continues to this day. Are you reading a certain book on ministry? Is there a unique way you are presently interacting with God's Word? Do you gather with other believers in a discipling or mentoring relationship? Are there people in your life that are holding you accountable in your walk with God?
Share What You Are Presently Learning And Obeying, From God
Let your disciples know that this Christian walk is not meant to be static (I learn it once and now I got it), but dynamic, in an ongoing process of spending time with God daily and daily submitting to what He is speaking into your life. What is God teaching you these days? What has God been speaking to you or dealing with you, presently? What is a temptation that you are taking intentional steps to overcome?
What Are Other Key Realities To Keep In Mind When Discipling Others?
Have A Big Picture Of The Discipling Process
Keep in mind the big picture of what you are trying to build in a disciple, to help you track progress in all areas that you are to build up in your disciple. It is always most helpful to see what disciple grids other leaders use for this big picture. Reading these and constantly processing with your own experience, will help you grow in what is needed to make a healthy disciple. Here are some links of big pictures of the discipling process: The Six Marks of a Disciple, A Disciple's Checklist.
Get to Know Your Disciplee's Life Story & Sense of Call
Get to know the life story of your disciplee. God has done a deep work in him/her. Their experiences of walking with God, both the good and even specially the hard times, are gold. You will understand their motivation, heart passion, and longings, by hearing their story.
Leverage People And Resources
You are not needing to be a one-stop for everything that your disciple needs. No discipler is a master of everything. Your disciple may need inner healing, or wants to grow in intercession. And these could be areas you are not yet equipped in yourself or in which find you have basic levels of competency. So keep in mind there are plenty of people and local resources both in your church, city, and surrounding areas, that you can leverage to help your disciple grow in every aspect of what it means to be a disciple, and into the specific calling they have on their life. There are also books, trainings, online video trainings, Youtube videos, websites, etc. The ability to provide and/or point the way to what's needed is part of the disciple-making dynamic. But pointing the way demands the ability to discern the quality of what you are offering and the right match for your disciple. Don't offer just anything that deals with the topic of interest or focus. Make sure it is Biblical, quality, and helpful to build a healthy disciple.
What Foundational Discipleship Focuses Shall We Pass On?
- Pray to God and Intercede for Others
- Read, Study, Memorize and Meditate on the Word of God
- Worship God in Spirit and in Truth
- Have Regular Quiet Times with God (Daily Devotionals) to deepen relationship, grow in knowledge of His ways, refresh/renew one's soul/spirit, align our mind, will and emotions with His, etc...
- Hear from God (Recognize His Voice) and Do His Will
- Share their Faith through a Testimony and a Presentation of the Gospel
- Value and Engage in Christian Fellowship for Mutual Encouragement and Loving Accountability