Too frequently I find church leaders complicating the simple. Disciple-making is one place where I see complexity too often. Keep it simple!
I want to suggest four simple steps for a disciple-maker to invest in his disciple(s) one-on-one or in D-groups (discipleship groups no larger than 5 including the leader). These steps assume time has already been invested in building a relationship. Consider these steps:
- ensure the disciple has a current living, growing relationship with God
- give him/her simple practical training so he/she can go out and share it/practice it
- send him/her out to practice/share the practical training
- check on how it went.
Let me share an illustration about how these steps work. Together and separately you study some passages about loving God, others, and self. You demonstrate a way to exercise patience (love is patient) in your relationships. You send him/her out to demonstrate patience with a plan to share what happened when you gather back together. He/she practices sometimes with success and sometimes with failure. You check on his/her attempts, affirm, and encourage continued practice.
Can you imagine these steps applied to sharing Jesus with someone, struggling to forgive someone, dealing with someone difficult at work, trying a spiritual discipline, dealing with a disobedient teenager, etc? These simple steps make God’s Word come alive, apply to daily life, and lead the disciple toward a life of obedience. They make God and His Word relevant for real life.
This moves disciple-making beyond consumption (see Consumption Is Not Discipleship), and helps the disciple move from guilt toward obedience. What would you add to these steps (be careful to avoid complexity)? Invest in disciples. Make disciples!
For more ideas, check out these post:
- Disciple-Making Strategy Questions
- New Year’s Personal Discipleship Questions
- Disciple-Making: Where to Start
- Scripture Memorization and Disciple-Making
- Discipleship and Relational Prayer
- Disciple-Making Goals for the Year Ahead
- Materials for One-on-One Disciple-Making
- Discipleship Through Church Ministry and Programs