Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s book The Cost of Discipleship is a classic. It powerfully describes Christ’s call for men to “come and die” in order to be His disciple.
In as many times as I have discussed that book with friends, I’ve never thought about an equally important concept—until now. Since a true disciple of Christ will become a disciple-maker of others (after all, that is Christlike), we must also consider the cost of disciple-making.
Initially, we may think the cost is time and energy. Certainly this is true. Disciple-making is a commitment to open up your life to another person. It’s an act of service that requires long hours, late-night calls, inconvenient conversations and out-of-the way trips.
But the cost of disciple-making doesn’t stop there. In fact, time and energy are actually just the beginning of the cost.
The real difficulty of disciple-making comes from the nature of the task: helping a fellow redeemed sinner grow in Christ. Read that last sentence again. It implies (biblically) that every believer, while on this earth, is still growing. We still make mistakes, act selfishly, rebel against God and hurt those who care for us.
Disciple-makers must accept the fact that there will be times when they will be hurt, let down, taken for granted and used. This is where we must realize that we are like a bridge—laying down our lives for the good of others. And like any good bridge, we will be walked all over.
But don’t let that discourage you. In fact, let it encourage you. Why? Because in laying down your life for others, you are being Christ-like toward them (1 John 3:16).
That’s why Scripture calls us to “bear one another’s burdens” (Gal. 6:2), “be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another” (Eph. 4:32), “bear with one another in love” (Eph. 4:2), to “teach and admonish one another in all wisdom” (Col. 3:16) and “exhort one another every day” (Heb. 3:13).
Those aren’t words to pass over lightly. Exhorting, rebuking, forgiving, bearing and admonishing are all painfully difficult. And at the same time, when done in Christ's strength, they are incredibly joyful. Why? Because there is nothing greater than identifying with Christ in His sufferings—especially when those sufferings produce disciples (3 John 1:4).
So, before you venture off into disciple-making, take a moment to count the costs. Just be sure to count them in light of the immense joy found in identifying with Christ—the master disciple-maker.
After serving in campus ministry at the University of Central Arkansas and coordinating student conferences for the Department of Church Ministries from 2000-2005, Scott Attebery pastored Wyatt Baptist Church in El Dorado, Ark. After seven years of pastoring, Scott was selected as the executive director of DiscipleGuide Church Reources, a department of the Baptist Missionary Association of America. You can read his blog at ScottAttebery.com.
For the original article, visit scottattebery.com.
Get Spirit-filled content delivered right to your inbox! Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.
Dr. Steve Greene is now sharing stories, teachings, and conversations with guests who lead with love on Love Leads, a new podcast. Listen now.
Dr. Mark Rutland's
National Institute of Christian Leadership (NICL)
The NICL is one of the top leadership training programs in the U.S. taught by Dr. Mark Rutland. If you're the type of leader that likes to have total control over every aspect of your ministry and your future success, the NICL is right for you!
FREE NICL MINI-COURSE - Enroll for 3-hours of training from Dr. Rutland's full leadership course. Experience the NICL and decide if this training is right for you and your team.Do you feel stuck? Do you feel like you’re not growing? Do you need help from an expert in leadership? There is no other leadership training like the NICL. Gain the leadership skills and confidence you need to lead your church, business or ministry. Get ready to accomplish all of your God-given dreams. CLICK HERE for NICL training dates and details.
The NICL Online is an option for any leader with time or schedule constraints. It's also for leaders who want to expedite their training to receive advanced standing for Master Level credit hours. Work through Dr. Rutland's full training from the comfort of your home or ministry at your pace. Learn more about NICL Online. Learn more about NICL Online.