Why do we do it?
With his last words, Jesus told us to do it.
Matthew 28:19-20 (MSG)
Jesus, undeterred, went right ahead and gave his charge: “God authorized and commanded me to commission you: Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life, marking them by baptism in the threefold name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you. I’ll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age.”
Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you.
Discipleship should not just be a fun part of your week where you get to hang out with a buddy, but rather a time specifically designed to help you get further in your walk with Jesus.
If this is not happening in a discipleship relationship, something needs to change.
Discipleship must become a part of who we are. The Bible has many amazing examples of discipleship, All of which are built upon a real relationship.
"A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another."
This means both sides must place value and investment in the relationship. Whether as the discipler or the disciple, you are only going to get out of it what you are putting in.
In Changing the World Through Discipleship, Robert Herber says: "Look Up. Look In. Look Out."
Mark 12:30 (NIV)
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.
In my discipleship I talk through goals with the people that I meet with, and we initially set a goal in each one of 3 areas: spiritual health, physical health, and personal health.
Structure helps develop discipline and promote growth. If no goals are established, then there is no way to determine if the relationship has been fruitful and effective to the goal of growing deeper in our walk with Jesus.
Even Jesus had a structure in the way he led his disciples, and you could fill a library with the books on it, but it generally goes something like this:
I do. You watch.
I do. You join.
You do. I join.
You do. I watch.
Having structure also provides more freedom and understanding, as we can often tiptoe around the messes that need to be worked on.
3 types of messy discipleship relationships: Eager Beaver, Four Seasons, and Low and Slow.
Leading in These Relationships
Eager Beaver - Our goal as discipler should be to help direct their energy and ambition into rhythms that will develop long term growth. Help this person see their spiritual giftedness and either harvest or help seek God’s calling in their life.
So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.
The discipler also needs to help this person understand their commitments and not over commit, which can lead to burnout.
Four Seasons - Our goal as a discipler MUST be to work through issues to help this person find consistency. These relationships can exist for large periods of time, but without consistency and push, may not prove to be effective towards our goal of pursuing Christ.
1 Corinthians 15:58
Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.
Through the relationship that we talked about earlier as being the bedrock of this relationship, you will learn and know how to help this person, when to push and when to back off. If you as a discipler are finding yourself walking through issues that you don’t know what to say or where to go, please seek out help.
Low and Slow - Many would call this "relational evangelism" and our desire should be to see people come to know Jesus through the way we live our lives.
“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven."
When you are living a life following Christ people will notice and in turn, God will open doors or generate opportunities for you to deepen your relationship with him.
This has to be intentional in the way that you are leading, because if not you could be friends with someone for years and they could be no closer to Jesus after.
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First Sunday of the Month at 5pm
4717 E. Michigan St., 46201
2120 W. Washington St.
Indianapolis, IN 46222