Our job is to make disciples, our goal is finishing the Great Commission.
Each believer is supposed to be a disciple.
And if he is a disciple then he should make disciples, because a disciple is one who makes disciples.
Are you a disciple then?
Each believer can supposedly say, “I was made into a disciple of Jesus by _____.” But sad to say most Christians could not point to someone as the one who made them into a disciple. This is the very reason why they have become ‘spiritual orphans’ jumping from church to church without changing their lives.
If we are commanded by Jesus to make disciples then ‘making disciples’ is for everyone. It is for you, it is for me. It is for our next generation.
If we are commanded to make disciples by Jesus, then there must be people out there who we can make into disciples of Jesus.
The question is: Who should be making disciples? And second, how are we going to make a person into a disciple?
FINDING YOUR CIRCLE OF INFLUENCE
I asked an Indian church planter who said he has 120 master trainers and about 45,000 members in his house church network: “What is your secret?” He answered with one simple sentence: You have friends and the power of God in you. That is all he could say without an explanation. As I thought about it I realize that each person can influence a minimum of 12 people, like Jesus. And influence 12,000 or more people to the maximum in his whole lifetime. In other words, there are really people out there who we can make into a disciple! Each of us then can start sorting them out beginning in our family circle and then to our circle of friends. God has placed people for you to make them into a disciple, not only around you but also ‘to all nations.’
‘ To begin, get some paper and pen and…
1. List down the names of all your family and friends you are connected with. Write down names that you can think of. If you notice, these people in your list have mixed backgrounds, age difference, young or old, it doesn’t matter. Because what matters is…
2. Look for people who believe in you and trust you. And maybe a bit loyal to you. Why?
Simple. Read 2 Timothy 2:2 – “Entrust this to faithful men who can be able to teach others as well.” How will you know that they will become ‘faithful’ to what you are going to let them do – say ‘make disciples to their own friends as well?’ – well, they have your belief and trust. You can easily work and build something with them.
Like it or not, people who believe in you and trust you, they like you and will always be there for you when you needed them around. They’re a bit ‘faithful’ to you. And if you ask them to do something, they will gladly do it. Why? Because they have your trust. If you don’t recognize these people, then someday, if not tomorrow, you will pity yourself because you have not done your job to make them into a disciple of Jesus.
QUESTION: How am I going to approach the person whom I want to make into a disciple?
ANSWER: Actually, the real issue when it comes to approaching the person is that you are ‘reluctant’ to approach the person. You have some ‘fear of rejection’ right? If not then good, but most answers I get is about the issue of shame and fear when approaching the person. When a person is your friend who believe in you and trust you, then why do you need to have a feeling of ‘shame’ and ‘fear’ of approaching him/her? You don’t have to. Then when you finally set a time to meet the person let him know that you are going to make him into a disciple him of Jesus. Tell him your intention, say “I will make you into a disciple of Jesus.” Because Jesus said, “Go and make disciples.”
I had an American pastor for seven years. From the moment I got saved I loved him very much. He was the best preacher that I could listen and listen and learn a lot. But sermons don’t produce a disciples, that’s the fact. It only produces listeners. Almost, every day I went to my pastor’s house for one reason: I want to learn from him. But to my dismay, all he does is watch CNN on TV and sit on his computer. I was never made into a disciple of Jesus, but surely I am a Christian. What’s the difference? Simple: Christians goes to church, disciples follows Christ. Well, the proof really is I do not know how to make disciples simply because I am not one! I have been joining seminars on discipleship, with all the materials I’ve got, the question remained unanswered: So, how to make disciples?
Well, first, if you look up on your list of people who believe in you and trust you as a friend [yes, they are ‘unbelievers’ still] they are mostly younger than you. Hardly older. The reason is fathering and mothering your next generation. This be explained more on my article Relational Discipleship.
Making Disciples is ‘intentional.’ You should know what you are doing or else you cannot help your next generations to go and make disciples to their next generations. Intentional Discipleship is knowing the person who made you into a disciple and those that you made into a disciple. Because the person that made you into a disciple of Jesus will become your ‘father/mother in the Lord’ and you are their ‘child[ren] in the Lord. Or those that you made into a disciple of Jesus are your ‘children in the Lord’ and you have become their ‘parents in the Lord.’ It’s ‘fathering your next generation’ right? What kind of father you are who do not know your children and what kind of children you are who do not know your father?
Talking about Biblical discipleship then is that you are a disciple, a follower of Jesus, not mine. I only ‘make’ you a disciple as commanded in Matthew 28:19-20: ‘Go and make disciples of all nations.’ I say that again because this is very important. My job is only to ‘make’ you into His disciple, not mine. Means, I am not your ‘discipler’ because ‘you are not’ my disciple. You will become Jesus disciple after I will make you into one. So, if you are His disciple and not mine, who will be your ‘discipler?’ It’s the Holy Spirit. Jesus will give you one, the same Holy Spirit as mine. His purpose is for you to hear Him as you follow Him because you are His follower, not mine. Therefore, my job is to make you a disciple/follower of Jesus. The Holy Spirit’s job is to disciple you. And Jesus job is to build His Church.
If you would ask Albert, (I made him a disciple of Jesus here), “Who disciple you Albert?” His answer would be, “The Holy Spirit. He lives in me, He will teach me all thing and even things to come. He knows the way I think and He knows my heart.” Who else could be better than Him? If you will continue asking for more clarification, Albert would have to tell you. “I think what you mean is who made me into a disciple of Jesus? Who birth me into the Kingdom of God. Right? It is Molong. He is the one who made me into a disciple and baptizes me. But I am not his disciple and so he is not my discipler. I am a disciple of Jesus. I don’t follow Molong, I follow Jesus. I hear Him. I am spirit-led, not Molong’s led. Molong, is the one who made me into a disciple therefore he is fathering me ‘in the Lord’ as I became his son ‘in the Lord.’
LEAD FOR A WHILE
Leadership in the Scripture is not someone at the top, but on the ground serving and if on the ground then that makes you a servant. The test then is not ‘how many people are behind you, but how many people you’re behind,” as Gary Goodell realizes. My point is, in making disciples, you lead only for a while, not for a lifetime! You lead the disciple not in the front, but on the side – walking together in a journey, then as he keeps on walking, you deliberately send him off, push him up to Jesus, meaning, you lead from the back.
Leading in the front is letting people push you up and help them fulfill your vision. Wrong. We have no personal ownership of the vision except what is given to us. We don’t own a vision, we are captured by the vision that God has given us – ‘go and make disciples of all nations.’
Leading at the back then is pushing people up to Jesus. To find their own calling in God, to listen to the Holy Spirit. As I make disciples, I should not tell anyone what to do for they will not be led by the Spirit of God. A disciple is a follower. When you follow someone, it means you are walking at his/her back, as we ‘walk in the Spirit’ and ‘are led by the Spirit’ [Rom.8:14]. Every one of us can make disciples [for a while, not a long time], but every one of us is a follower of Jesus and not of any pastor or any person. Our thrust is to encourage one another to listen to the Holy Spirit in us. I cannot tell you what to do for I do not know the call of God in your life. The Spirit of God in us will ‘teach all things’ [Jn.16:13, 1Jn.2:27]. The Holy Spirit in me is not more matured than your Holy Spirit nor is yours more mature than mine. We have the same Holy Spirit. That is why it in the Bible we are commanded to ‘serve one another’ not ‘lead one another.’
HOLY SPIRIT – ‘PARACLEO’
The Holy Spirit in Greek is called paracleo, meaning ‘along side.’ How can I lead in the front then? Does that mean the Holy Spirit will follow me? Huh! And how can I stay long [lead for a lifetime] in the life of a disciple if the Holy Spirit is a paracleo? The word ‘follow up’ could not be even applied in this principle. It will only hinder the Spirit’s work in the life of a person. It is time to fully trust the Holy Spirit for His work to do [Jn. 14-17]. We have done conferences, seminars, workshops, collecting and making manuals, expensive programs on discipleship, but nothing much really happened. Even a city which is full of churches has not been turned upside down! ‘Churches as we know it’ are insane trying to do the same thing over and over again expecting different result, yet the result is always the same.
THE SHORTCOMINGS OF THE MODERN CHURCH
21st Century church has made many ‘Christians’ but not ‘disciples.’ What’s the difference? Well, first Jesus didn’t say, “If anyone wants to be My Christian he must deny himself” Sounds absurd hey? I have a theory, and this is only a theory that Christians goes to church, disciples follows Christ. Honestly, given the fact in today’s church style of discipleship with some resemblance of a ‘Roman Catholic Catechism,’ a Christian after his full-year training is still incapable of producing himself into another person. All he could do is invite his friend into a church service on Sunday Morning and be a ‘faithful Christian church-goer’ like him. In spite of the ‘good’ ‘biblical’ definition of discipleship written in many books and was taught in hundreds of Conferences to many pastors, the job of making disciples remains a complicated program. Search the internet yourself, even pastors doesn’t know how to make disciples. Surely, it’s easy to become a Christian, easier than a car to get into the parking lot. That’s all it takes in today’s Churchianity.
YOU ARE NOT A CHRISTIAN
God has called us by His Name, by what name are you called? Baptist? Pentecostal? Evangelical? Living Way Christian Fellowship? Living Light? Living Spring? Living Water? I believe that the next breed of Believers will not be called by their denominational names but only by His Name: followers of Jesus Christ. They will not be called ‘Christians,’ but ‘disciples of Jesus’ whose commission is to go and make disciples; they will be the ‘church going’ community, not church-goers.” As you go, make disciples of all nations.”
Yes, the ‘followers of the Way’ were first called Christians in Antioch, yet it was the non-believers who gave them this name. Simply put, like my Dad’s comments: “Oh, that’s a Christian.” Or, “Ew, is that a Christian?” Get the difference? Dad mostly uses the one that has a question mark simply because he doesn’t see much difference in Christianity and the world. If you label yourself as a Christian, then the next question would always be, “What church are you a member of?” And thirdly and mostly, “Who’s your pastor?” Such questions lead only to denominationalism, not the Kingdom of God. The right Scriptural way is: I am a disciple of Jesus. In this statement this will let the person think only of Jesus. He might reply, “What’s that?” And you can share with him about your life of following Jesus twenty-four hours a day, 7 days a week. Not an event to attend but living the life of the Kingdom.
MY JOURNEY OF MAKING DISCIPLES THEN AND NOW
My Christian life is a mess. I got some 7 years of being a traditional guy doing everything in the church as a worker. After that I ventured with other friends for 8 years doing house churches full of meetings and leadership trainings. I learned things the hard way. I stopped doing things literally, that’s when I ask good questions about myself and what I do: Am I a disciple? If so, then do I know how to make disciples? Who are they that I made? Where are they? Are they making disciples? Do I have to train leaders? If I don’t do church, this time it’s ‘house church’ – if I don’t do them no more, then to what am I going to gather them? And many more questions. And honesty, basically all the answers is No. I was so ashamed of myself. That decides me and my wife to exile for at most three years! No communication to Christians, not attending any church activities, just do nothing. Dying I mean.
Then one November night of 2009, came Albert at the doorstep of my house. I know he believes in me. So that night I made him into a disciple. Although that time his baptism was delayed as I am in the first phase of ‘learning’ how to make disciples, but that night I start my journey of making disciples. Albert started making his friends disciples of Jesus as I continue making my friends disciples of Jesus also. Cut to the chase, for years now in the journey we reached up to the 12th generation. And this time, 2013, we start sending disciples to other islands to make disciples. And have started setting ‘apostolic hubs’ around my country.
It would take another article to write about what we do and what we do not do. When you are encountered by the Truth, that is either it ask you to do something or it ask you to stop what you are used to do. Saying that, I mean, we don’t do ‘discipleship’ but we just make disciples. ‘Discipleship’ is indispensable for Christians who don’t want to be a part of changing the world. It’s focus is the church not the un-church, the save instead of the lost. It is where we complicate the job of making disciples when we lose our focus: lost.
Making Disciples can do the job of finishing the Great Commission.
MAKING DISCIPLES IS NOT A ‘ONE-MAN’ SHOW, IT’S FOR EVERYONE.
To make the commission of making disciples a job for everybody is to let everybody make disciples to their friends. Everybody has friends. You cannot make your friend’s friends a disciples of Jesus simply because you are not their friends. In most churches way of discipleship, it is mostly the pastor or the leader that is authorized by his pastor can do the training. And it is mostly theoretic teachings with some evangelism activities. I often wonder how hard it is for someone who was just trained by it to multiply himself by doing the same! I’ll tell you right now, ‘discipleship’ is hard but ‘making disciples’ is easy. Because our job is only to ‘make’ a person a disciple of Jesus (not mine) means it is simple, quick and fast! So here it is, we make a person a disciple of Jesus within 2-7 minutes. Yes, we let him believe Christ work on the cross, we let him respond by repenting of his sins and burying himself in baptism. We got stories after stories of making disciples in different websites because any disciple who can make disciples can share his own stories in his own website or blog. We write new stories, not new theories!
Because we don’t go to church, we don’t have a church building to gather them as a church, actually ‘gathering’ in a sense of having a church building is actually ‘maintaining’ them as Christians and members of our church. We don’t do that. However, after entry of the Kingdom of God through baptism, a person is ‘accepted’ as a part of my family. If you make your friends a disciple of Jesus, then he is not only your friend now but a family. Many people we know as our friends but not family. Big difference. So, the person have become family to us. Isn’t it Jesus define His church as ‘having hundreds of mothers, brothers and sisters’? A ‘household of faith’? Yes, we start ‘treating the older men as father, older women as mothers, younger men as brother and younger women as sisters.’ 2 Timothy 6:1,2.
“Children, obey your parents in the Lord.’ Eph.6:1. We have ‘children in the Lord’ and ‘parents in the Lord.’ For Jesus said, “I shall not leave you as orphans.” Do you know where in your Bible you can read that? 🙂
A detailed articles or stories on “How to make disciples” can be found in my site.