Disciple-making is about relationships, investing, and sending. It is about more than personal growth as a disciple. It requires caring enough to train and send the best prepared disciples into our world.
In the Great Commission, Jesus said more than “teaching them” as a definition of discipleship. He assumed going in order to carry out his command to make disciples of all nations. And that includes leading them to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ (baptizing) and teaching them to obey Him.
Let’s break down how to get there. It has three parts: caring, investing, and sending! Consider the following:
Disciple-making begins with a relationship. That relationship may begin with a chance encounter at a coffee shop or work. But the medium of disciple-making is a caring relationship. Care requires time together to thrive. While that time is usually best face-to-face, it can also be electronic or by phone. The time may be brief or a year or more, but disciple-making will make the most of that time because of care.
Like a farmer sowing seeds, the disciple-maker invests the time and effort with the hope of a return–even if the disciple-maker never sees it. He/she gets up early or stays up late, takes time away from family, and invests in others who may be lost. No, I am not talking about a super-Christian. It is the role of every Christian–even the brand new one. The disciple-maker gives and challenges the disciple to invest it in others.
Send the Best
The goal is to prepare the disciple to be the best possible disciple of our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ–in the time we have. Make every moment count. Focus the time together. Teach essential skills. Point to the Word. Help the disciple to be able to self-feed and to give away what is learned. When you have 15 minutes before departing from a plane, use that time well. If you have 30 minutes every week for a month, make it count. When you have 90 weekly for 6 months, invest that time to the glory of God.
By the way, it was after coming up with the plan and title for this post that I remembered the Hallmark commercials about “when you care enough to send the very best.” That is what we want to do. Send the very best disciples.
Be willing to serve as an encourager or coach from a distance, if necessary. Ask to hear about stories of how they cared and invested in others. But send them out with the plan for them to pour into others as you did with them. Do your best and ask God to bless the investment. Make disciples!