Who Makes Disciples?

When Jesus told us, “Go therefore and make disciples,” he made it obvious that disciples don’t just emerge from nowhere. They are made.

I am forever indebted to the men and women who discipled me as a late teenager – Jim, Rod, Ron, Cyndi, Bonnie, Glen, Steve, Don, Bill, Karen, Dave, Keith and a host of others along the journey. Most of these were
trained disciple-makers; they were just common guys and gals, some older and some my age, who knew that disciples are “made.”

I love the fact that God calls me “disciple” more than he calls me “Christian” (31 times vs 3 in Acts). In our day, “Christian” connotes something so organized, religious and formal. “Disciple” reminds me that I’m a learner, a thinking follower; that I have a teacher, coach and mentor; that He has a curriculum for my life, my sufferings, my trials, my family.

We also must be disciple-makers. Even if we are not super gifted or experienced, we are all competent to instruct one another at a basic level (Rom 15:14). In his wisdom, the Lord has not entrusted his church only to highly trained professionals. For 2,000 years, His church has thrived by ordinary brothers and sisters discipling one another, sharing life-to-life.  And that’s what disciple-making really is—sharing life-to-life, leading each other to look like Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18). Mentoring others, we open our hearts (1 Thes 2:8) and we open our Bibles (2 Tim 3:15), sometimes over years, sometimes over only one visit to the coffee shop.

Some mentoring is formal, most is probably the Deuteronomy 6:7 type—as you simply walk through life.  Moses did it with Joshua, Aaron with Phineas, Naomi with Ruth, Elijah with Elisha, the Queen Mother with King Lemuel, Eunice with Timothy, Paul with Silas, and Barnabas with Mark. When I came to Parker Hills in
November 2007, I’d heard that this church family has a reputation of personal mentoring. Eighteen months later, I’ve seen that this is true, and it’s good and it mustn’t stop.

Looking back over your life, likely those who have influenced you most in your walk with the Lord are not only preachers and leaders, but also coaches, teachers, friends, and others who took a personal interest in you and showed you Christ through their own lives.

Let’s recommit ourselves to taking up Jesus’ challenge: Go and make disciples. For more on this topic, please plan to attend the Core Seminar on disciple-making on May 11.