In many recipes, there are ingredients that are essential and some that are optional. For instance, in most cake recipes flour is essential but chocolate is optional. In this post, I want to focus on two of the essential ingredients of disciple-making.
Optional ingredients still add much to the recipe for disciple-making. For instance, journaling is not so much about writing as it is about listening to God and processing what He said through the Word. Both of those actions are important, but there are other methods for accomplishing them (such as prayer). Scripture memorization is important, but amount and frequency is optional. A disciple who spends time in God’s Word will naturally memorize scripture.
Two Essential Ingredients
If I asked you to list the top 4 essential ingredients of cake, would you list baking powder? You would probably include flour, sugar, milk, eggs, etc. But without baking powder, cake will be a flop–literally. There are more essential ingredients in disciple-making than these two, but there is not disciple-making without these two:
- Scripture. How do we become disciples of Jesus? We get to know Him by spending time in God’s Word. We seek daily intake by reading and meditating on scripture. The words, practices, and life of Jesus become a major focus of our attention. We make a commitment to spend time in the Bible. We discover Jesus on every page of scripture, including the Old Testament. As we process what we are reading, we ask a question that never becomes trite: “What would Jesus do?” We apply what we are learning about Jesus to daily living. This means that no book can substitute for God’s Word. Only God in His Word has the power to change lives.
- Relationships. Along with scripture, relationships are key ingredients of disciple-making. Without two relationships, disciple-making cannot happen. The first is a fresh, personal relationship with the Lord for the disciple-maker and an openness to discovery of a relationship with the Lord for the disciple. The ultimate purpose of disciple-making is to know Jesus personally, become like Him, and pursue His mission (Matthew 28:19-20). The second is a relationship for the disciple-maker with the disciple. Disciple-making efforts in a vacuum of relationships is academic, shallow, and ineffective. Trust, honesty, and transparency flow out of relationships. Relationships cannot be forced but are chosen. Think about why Jesus spent 3 years with 12 disciples. His example was as important as His words.
Adding Flavor to the Recipe
I don’t even want to try cake without flavor. Flavor makes what we eat more palatable and interesting. In a similar way, disciple-making will be done in many ways and include additional ingredients. But there is no recipe for disciple-making without these two. I encourage you to assess your recipe. Are these two ingredients present and in the right proportion? Which of these two essential ingredients needs to be strengthened to make your disciple-making efforts stronger and more effective? When will you make the adjustment? Make disciples!