A practical plan for engaging the entire church in revolutionary disciple-making
We all want to do something revolutionary. I know I do. After 40 years in ministry, I can say that I have been involved in a life- and world-changing revolution. Will you join me in this mandate to any and every mature disciple of Christ?
This revolution started 2,000 years ago when Jesus uttered the words, "Follow me" to 12 men He would spend His time on earth with teaching and showing them what it meant to be His disciple. Through this simple concept, Jesus reproduced Himself in His followers.
The revolution continued as these disciples led by Peter established the early church, followed by Paul, who followed Jesus' ex-ample as he discipled Timothy, Titus and Silas.
Since then, faithful believers have sporadically picked up this spiritual fathering concept.
Call it what you want—mentoring, discipling, coaching or spiritual fathering or mothering—it all boils down to the idea of caring about each other's spiritual growth.
Paul grasped this truth when he told Timothy, "You then, my son, ... the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others" (2 Tim. 2:1-2, NIV). Paul exhorted his disciple, Timo-thy, to find another disciple who would disciple another.
I do not believe we can live in victory unless we realize there is power in what we say.
As believers, we need to be trained to understand the soul, which is made up of the intellect, will and emotions. Since it is full of "self" and does not want to submit to the Holy Spirit, it must be purified (see 2 Tim. 2:2).
Because we are free moral agents our own minds tell us what we think, but our thoughts are not necessarily God's thoughts. Our wills dictate what we want, despite what He desires for us. And our emotions govern our feelings, but our hearts should instead be subject to Him.
Paul spoke about being “all things to all men” (see 1 Cor. 9:22). His missionary journeys proved his ability to understand different people groups and adapt his message to meet them where they lived.
On the other hand, Paul considered himself called to be an "apostle to the Gentiles” (see Rom. 11:13). Sounds slightly targeted doesn’t it? How do we reconcile these two pursuits: to reach all and yet focus on only a segment?
Paul understood his strengths and his calling. Every church has strengths at reaching a “type” of people in its community. Though that might strike some as unjust, its truth defines both our strengths and the areas we need to grow.
Whether you are a church that is known for young families, old money, the upper class, the working class or the struggling class—whether you are known for deep followers, surface seekers, empty nesters or down-and-outers—there are tendencies as to whom you draw.
“There he went into a cave and spent the night. And the word of the LORD came to him...” 1 Kings 19:9 (NIV)
These sobering words penetrated my soul one day in prayer. It was a typical Thursday morning at the office. I was performing my daily routine of checking messages, answering phone calls and sorting mail when I heard a faint, but distinct noise coming from an area near the sanctuary. Knowing that I was the lone person in the building, I went to check to see if someone was attempting to break in.
As I walked down the hallway, I felt compelled to enter the sanctuary and pray for a few moments. This decision would forever change my life. I made my way to the front of the sanctuary and knelt at the altar.
“The LORD is my light and my salvation; I will fear no one. The LORD protects me from all danger; I will never be afraid.” (Ps. 27:1, GNT)
The fear of rejection is based on two things. First, we all need to be loved. That’s a fact. We all desperately need massive doses of love in our life to be healthy individuals. God says, “I want to love you.” God is love, and he knows you need to be loved.
But, second, we develop the false idea that our need to be loved is solely dependent upon one person or a group of people. When you expect someone else to meet 100 percent of your need for love, you’re asking for trouble. You’re setting yourself up for hurt and opening the door for the fear of rejection. When you look to any other person besides God to meet all your love needs, he or she can’t. There is no human being alive who can love you as completely and as fully as you need to be loved, and there never will be. Only God can do that.
There is a four-letter word that will sentence you to success as your serve another person’s ministry: O-B-E-Y! Obedience is coming under the authority of your mentor. In other words, submission is the key.
Elisha came under the authority of Elijah and received the blessing of the double portion:
“And so it was, when they had crossed over, that Elijah said to Elisha, 'Ask! What may I do for you, before I am taken away from you?' Elisha said, 'Please let a double portion of your spirit be upon me.' So he said, 'You have asked a hard thing. Nevertheless, if you see me when I am taken from you, it shall be so for you; but if not, it shall not be so'” (2 Kings 2:9-10).