April 24, 2008

From Disciple to Discipler

Series | Making Disciples

The Practical Discipleship Plan of Attack aims to take in a disciple and produce a discipler. The following chart gives an overview of the whole process.

the kit and caboodle

To recap: the discipler [instructs][27] his disciple in doctrine, [illustrates][28] truth in daily practice, [involves][29] the disciple in the work of the ministry, helps the disciple [improve][30] his effectiveness, and [inspires][31] the disciple when he’s discouraged. These five stages of development span the [Biblical Discipleship Bulls-eye][32] from evangelism to edification to equipping. Disciplers labor to help new coverts grow in Christ and train them to make disciples in fulfillment of the Great Commission. Maturity and multiplication are beautiful things.

[27]: http://tohuvabohu.org/series/disciples_2-1 [28]: http://tohuvabohu.org/series/disciples_2-2 [29]: http://tohuvabohu.org/series/disciples_2-3 [30]: http://tohuvabohu.org/series/disciples_2-4 [31]: http://tohuvabohu.org/series/disciples_2-5 [32]: http://tohuvabohu.org/series/disciples_1-4

As we wrap up this series, here are some final thoughts on disciple-making.

We learn about discipleship from Jesus!

Jesus already walked the road ahead of us and all we need to do is follow Him. As I mentioned before, The Master Plan of Evangelism by Robert Coleman traces Jesus’ steps and is must read material. Jesus called disciples, lived and associated with them, taught them, modeled for them, partnered with them, delegated assignments, did follow-up, and then He left. We are here, not because Jesus filled stadiums with hundreds of thousands of people and preached great messages, but because He focused on twelve ordinary men1. Apparently making disciples like Jesus it is effective (not to mention biblical).

Though not complex, discipleship is not easy.

In fact, discipleship may be the toughest thing we’ll ever do. It’s so easy to focus on other things. It isn’t always pleasant having other people look into our lives and it’s often messy when we get involved in theirs. But no matter how difficult, making disciples is our Lord’s commission.

Discipleship is all about the people and not about the program.

The best curriculum cannot guarantee growth. There are no checklists to complete or shortcuts to maturity. Some structure (like organized small groups) may be helpful, but the best program with the wrong people won’t make disciples. On the other hand, the right people with the worst program–or even no program at all–will move forward.

You are missing out if you just partake and don’t participate.

I changed the person of the pronoun on purpose. If you come and soak and don’t give you won’t grow like you should. Your joy will be half of what it could be if you’re not using your spiritual giftedness and pouring back out into someone else’s life.2 There is always someone who knows less than you. You can encourage someone. You’re ready. Every believer has a responsibility to reach out to someone else and make a disciple.

What stage are you in? What will it take to get you to the next level? My prayer is that God would give us all a passion for discipleship, that not just the pastor or the youth staff or parents, but that all of the saints would take ownership. May He give us a vision and burden for others and keep us from sitting on the sidelines. Let us commit to make disciples of all the nations until everyone is complete in Christ.

  1. Yes, this is a shameless reference to John MacArthur’s book by the same name.
  2. Besides, it would probably help you stop whining about your own life.

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