Are you a follower of Jesus? If so, that would make you one of His disciples. A disciple is literally a follower or student of someone, in this case – Jesus. Right before Jesus ascended to heaven, he met with his followers and gave these final words: “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them everything I have commanded you.” Jesus was speaking directly to His disciples, and His message was clear: Be disciple-making disciples.
So how does one go about making disciples? Well, there is no magic formula. In fact, the discipleship process looks a little different for each person. This is good news because it means that God can use each of us to be disciple-making disciples. Here, then, are 9 practical ways to help you and I become disciple-making disciples.
1. Recognize you are a great sinner, and Jesus is a great Savior. In order to see the greatness of what Jesus has done, we must recognize the weight of our sin. You see, we are unable to stand up to God’s perfect standard. We fall short of that standard time and time again. Because of that, Paul tells us in Romans 1:18 that our sin is deserving of God’s wrath (eternal punishment). But the glorious news is that Jesus came to the earth to live the perfect life that we could not live, and then die the death that we deserved, so that we might have life with God. Jesus stepped in and took our sin, our situation and our place. Isaiah 53:5 says, “But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed.” So, yes, you and I are great sinners. But Jesus is a great Savior.
2. Fall in love with God (His beauty, His holiness, His power and His faithfulness). God is the only God. He is the one, true God. There is no one like Him. His beauty is unparalleled, His holiness is matchless, He is all-powerful, and His faithfulness is unwavering. The more you truly know God, the more you will fall in love with Him. And out of that love will drive a deep desire to see others know Him as well.
3. Read God’s Word daily and submit to it. If you are wondering how you can know God, look no further than His Word. We have sixty six books of inerrant and inspired words from the Lord. All of Scripture is telling us something about God and His character. When we read God’s Word daily and submit to His ultimate authority, we are making ourselves available. And God will always use our availability. You may want to say something like this: “God, may Your will be done in my life. Whatever You will have me do, and wherever you will have me go, I submit to You and Your Word.”
4. Follow the Holy Spirit’s leading. When we make ourselves available to the Lord, we are giving Him control of our decisions. Just as Paul was constrained by the Holy Spirit to go or not go somewhere, we have Him as our Guide. He will lead us to where we need to go, and when we get there, He will give us the words to say (Luke 12:12).
5. Be involved in a local church (if possible). The reason I say “if possible” is because I know that some people do not have the ability to meet with believers. There are some places in the world where you might be the only believer for hundreds of miles (hopefully not forever). With that being said, the majority of us (especially in America) have the convenience of a church body being in the same city. The church is the bride of Christ, and through it, God will complete His mission of drawing people from all nations to Himself. We must be involved in a local church to be a part of that mission.
6. Surround yourself with a small group of believers. Once again, this comes with the stipulation that you are not the only believer in an area where you can meet with other believers. I wrote about the importance of meeting with a small group of believers in a previous post. You can read about that here.
7. Have non-Christian friends that know you are a Christian. How will you ever see someone come to know the Lord as their Savior if you do not know any non-Christians? There are many different forms of evangelism. In my opinion, one of the most effective forms is relational evangelism. Dr. Alvin Reid, Professor of Evangelism and Student Ministry at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, describes relational evangelism this way – “Relational witness (or evangelism) means we will build relationships with others who do not know Christ to love them to Him. It means we will appreciate (though sometimes not embrace) their interests and cultural distinctions.” This is just being intentional while doing life with people who don’t know the Lord.
8. Appreciate that there is no perfect method to telling someone about Jesus. You may be thinking…I want to tell others about Jesus. I want to be a disciple-making disciple. But I just don’t know what to say to someone. Sharing the gospel does not need to be a presentation. Ask the person to tell you their story. Listen. Then, respond with questions and to see if you can share your story. There is no perfect method, just a perfect Savior.
9. Make time in your schedule to disciple someone. I can tell you right now the one thing that will stop many of you from making disciples is time. Finding time in your schedule to meet with someone on a regular basis is one of the hardest things for me as well. You see, making disciples does not stop after you see them begin a relationship with the Lord. They are still feeding on spiritual milk as young believers. Just as you were shown how to read the Bible, pray, and evangelize, they too need someone to teach them. This is not something reserved only for “ultra-spiritual” Christians. Just ask if you can read a book of the Bible together over the next six months. Then, talk with them about how God is revealing Himself in the Scripture you just read. It’s simple, but you have to make time in your schedule.
These are nine ways to help you become a disciple-making disciple. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but it is helpful to start with a few and go from there.