It might be the pond I am swimming these days, but I cannot remember a time when I have heard more pastors and leaders talking about intentional disciple-making. It is so encouraging to hear church leaders digging in to redefine what a disciple of Jesus looks like and what it means to make disciples who resemble Him. Even better is hearing so many leaders these days working to see discipleship reach third and fourth generations of reproduction!
If you are part of a group of church leaders described above, awesome! If you are not, let me extend a clear invitation to you to get on that journey. It is the primary calling on your life and mine. It should be one of the core focuses of the church you lead, serve, and/or attend.
As I interact with pastors on a weekly basis, I hear many of them searching for helpful tools as they lean into intentional disciple-making. The great news in the Church today is we do not have a lack of great tools on this front. The more significant challenge is finding the right tools that will work for you in your current context.
Consider This Question
Do you have solid theology grounding your disciple-making effort?
I am convinced if we get the theology right then good practice will follow. Throughout the pages of scripture, we find a missionary God seeking to bring redemption to His creation. This missionary God became flesh and dwelt among us in the person of Jesus. This incarnate Christ’s primary method of raising up the first generation of followers was through disciple-making. He encouraged the crowds but poured His life into a mere few. He focused on the 12 disciples but made an even more intentional pour into 3 of them (Peter, James, John).
This is a concise summary of a great deal of theological depth that fills the pages of the Bible. However, the importance of building any disciple-making effort on this foundation cannot be overstated.
Creating a Disciple-Making Movement
If your church is like most in the evangelical churches in the U.S. today, then you likely have some culture in your local setting that will fight against discipleship being core to your ministry. Some deeply held assumptions will need to be unlearned and new behaviors that will need to be adopted.
A big dream to create a disciple-making movement in your church dropped into some not-so-healthy culture will mean your vision gets eaten for breakfast. A dream to make disciples who make disciples cast to a community of Spirit-filled followers of Jesus with a healthy church culture will change the world!
The Right Posture
One more thing–be sure to go and make disciples with the right posture. And as you might guess, the right posture is the posture of Jesus. The posture of Jesus is best captured in John 1:14. In this powerful passage of scripture, we learn that Jesus fully embodied both grace and truth. It is hard to imagine how Jesus did this, but He did.
Jesus invites us into this posture as we seek to make disciples who make disciples. And to be candid, if we lack the ability to embody these two attributes then deep spiritual transformation isn’t possible. We must be willing to extend both invitation and challenge. We must be willing to offer grace and speak truth. When we do these things just as Jesus, people grow up in Him.
Here are three tools we would like to recommend as you seek to be even more intentional about disciple-making that leads to several generations of reproduction.
Banding Together aims to resource disciple makers and churches with SIMPLE and PRACTICAL tools for making disciples, developing leaders and launching churches.
Discipleship.org is a collaborative community of men and women committed to the discipleship lifestyle—being disciples of Jesus and making disciples of Jesus.
Gravity Leadership is a ministry that teaches people to lead like Jesus, live on mission, and make disciples.
Let us never forget that as we turn our hearts towards the one true God, this Jesus who loved us so much He gave His life for us, we have a promise from His heart. Matthew 28:18-20 commissions us to go out and make disciples, but in verse 20, Jesus tells us that as we are doing this work, He is with us. Even to the end of the age! Take heart and keep on tilling the soil He has given you!