What does it mean to make disciples of Jesus? This is no way intended to be the ONLY definition of disciple making. It is one that I have worked on for along time through studying the Bible and it helps me stay focused. I would love to know yours!
Definition – Disciple making is teaching someone to follow of Jesus through intentional, loving relationships, so that they can do the same.
The vision of the definition: “so that they will do the same.” In the end, disciple making is about the multiplication or expansion of the Kingdom of God. Effective disciple makers have the vision to see people as disciple makers and the growing ability to help people become disciple makers.
- Teaching – In Matthew 28:19-20 Jesus told us that we are to teach people to do what He said to do. Those you are discipling must be led to know and live by the Word of God. It does not mean that you have to earn an advanced degree in theology or lead a small group. It does mean that you need to consistently lead them to read, mediate, and apply the Bible. Effective disciple makers help others apply the truths of Scripture to everyday living so that they can become disciple makers themselves.
- Love – God’s move toward us in sending Jesus was an act of Love (John 3, Rom. 5). Jesus’ relationship with the 12 was characterized by love (John 15:9). Jesus’s command to His disciples was to imitate the way He loved, so that people would believe in him (John 13). You will be an effective disciple maker if you grow in your ability to love in the way Jesus defined love. In your discipling relationships you are always asking the question, “How can I lay down my life for this person?” Or put another way, “How can I be more about what they need than what I want?” (John 15:13) It is when we are daily and practically loving people in word and deed that we are being most like Jesus (1 Jn. 3:11-18).
- Intentional – Jesus did not accidently do anything with the disciples. He CALLED them (Mt. 4:19). He TAUGHT them (Mt. 5:2). He SENT them out (Mt. 10). He MADE them get in a boat (Mt. 14:22). He TOOK them up on the mountain (Mt. 17). He TOOK them into the garden (Mt. 26:37). Jesus was always looking for ways to challenge and grow His disciples.. Disciple makers are intentional in finding ways to push and challenge those they are discipling to a deeper walk with God. Disciple makers look for God in the everyday and lovingly lead others to learn from what He is doing.
- Relational– Jesus’ relationship with his disciples was close and grew closer over time. Before His death Jesus referred to them as friends (John 15:15). This shows that His investment in them was not confined to a weekly appointment or small group. He pursued His disciples and opened up all of His life for them to see. This allowed the disciples to see Him when there was joy, anger, victory, sorrow, betrayal and normal everyday living. The way to make disciples in the pattern of Jesus is by being in deep, growing relationships with people. This means that you need to be available and patient in the process because relationships take time.