Dr. Chuck Lawless, Dean of the Billy Graham School of Missions, Evangelism and Church Growth as well as Director of Professional Doctoral Studies is a person I highly respect. He is thorough, consistent, relevant, and approachable. I have been privileged to have him speak in one of the churches where I served as senior pastor and I have been blessed to hear him on numerous other occasions.
I especially commend Dr. Lawless for his work in the areas of assimilation and discipleship. On his blog, he wrote a great entry he entitled Discipleship 101. In the entry he focused on the attributes of utilizing a personal mentoring approach to discipleship. He offered the following four reasons to adopt this approach:
First, the approach is biblical. If Jesus and Paul made disciples through this means, how can we not follow that pattern? Older men and women teaching the younger generation is not optional for the church (Titus 2:1-8). Excuses for not mentoring lose their power when we choose to make disciples like Jesus and Paul did.
Christian teaching lived out reinforces the truth of the Word. The student who watches his mentor do personal evangelism is more likely to catch that fire. A mentor with a godly marriage gives his disciple the invaluable gift of Christian living modeled in the home. Faith exhibited during times of crisis becomes a challenging example for the disciple to emulate. Simply stated, it is in the classroom of life that we best see the Word in action.
Mentoring discipleship requires the mentor to guard his life against the Enemy’s attacks. Committed disciplemakers wear a bull’s eye on their back for Satan. He knows that if he can seriously wound the mentor, the disciples bear the scars of that fall. Knowing that their actions affect a second generation of believers, good disciplemaking mentors stand strong against the Enemy.
A strong disciplemaking relationship provides a safe place to deal with failure. Confession is good, for it brings our sin out of the Enemy’s darkness into the light-where we can deal with the wrong through repentance and forgiveness. Most believers, however, have no one to hold them accountable to Christian living. A disciplemaking mentor models holiness, calls his disciples to the same, and holds them accountable to that standard. Should they fail, he offers forgiveness and encourages them to return to the fight.
I thank Dr. Lawless for his continued work, and along with him, I commend mentoring (1-2-1) discipleship to you. Check out my blog entry How to Get Started with 1-2-1 Discipleship and the Top 5 Reasons for 1-2-1 Discipleship. Get started today!