As we seek to be a church that plants churches, this will only be accomplished if we are disciples who make disciples. Here are a few questions I get when talking about making disciples…
1. Is it ever too early to disciple someone?
Think of it as everyone being on a scale from -10 to +10. We all start at a -10 on the scale. The bible teaches that none of us are good! Over time, whether it’s through conversations, going to church, reading the bible, etc. we move along that scale. Some people move quicker than others. To move from a 0 to a +1 is to cross over from death to life through Jesus Christ. So, you might be at a 1, but I bet you have a lot of -7’s in your life or maybe even some folks that are at a -1 or 0. If you are a Christ-follower, it is never too early to begin discipling someone. However, it is important that you are being discipled by someone further along than you. Remember, Jesus calls out FOLLOWERS, not FANS! You cannot follow Jesus and NOT feel the call to make disciples – No matter how young of a Christian you are!
2. Can I disciple more than one person?
I love what Andy Stanley says: “Do for one what you wish you could do for everyone.” The principle here is that you cannot disciple everyone. Jesus had 12 disciples, but even he had an inner circle of 4 that He poured in to even more (Peter, James, John & Andrew). If you’ve never discipled someone before, start with just the first person God has already put into your life. Eventually, maybe that becomes a small group of people, say 2 or 3 people. From there, maybe they begin discipling each other and you start pouring into just one of them again. Ultimately, I try to make as many disciples as I can who I know will eventually make disciples themselves. They are not yet a disciple until they have been taught to make a disciple.
3. How long should my commitment be?
In Philippians 4:1, Paul tell this church: Therefore, my brothers, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown,…” Is there anyone in your local church that you would refer to as your JOY and your CROWN. Paul is calling this Church is reward!! This carries some strong commitment to one another to be considered a joy and a crown for Paul’s life. I believe your commitment to Christ and the people you disciple will last a lifetime. However, seasons of life change. Eventually, they will enter into new seasons when God will send new people along their path. They may move away or move on to something new. It’s not bad to start the discipleship relationship with a 6 or 12 month covenant, just to see what God is going to do. It’s impossible to live life together and then just stop. However long it takes them to become your JOY and your CROWN is probably a good timeline.