The command to make disciples has been given humans as far back as Adam and Eve. They were told to “be fruitful and multiply” and it was clear that God considered that opportunity a blessing.
There are nearly 20 instances in the book of Genesis that God says, “be fruitful and multiply” and every one of them is accompanied by “and God blessed them by saying…”
This command should not be considered burdensome;¹ it is simply a product of living. Everyone makes disciples. Even a person we would consider to have no significant influence, or no real followers – like a teenager giving advice to friends – still makes disciples.
Discipleship is the process of transferring what you know and how you live to another person. The obvious goal is to do this in a Spiritual manner but it happens in every area of life.
Real Life Disciple Making
Growing up as a baseball player I sought out different coaches for pitching and hitting lessons. I knew, and my family knew, that if I wanted to get better at what I was doing, we needed to seek out someone with more knowledge and experience than we had.
I would pay money to get private lessons or go to camps and I would spend time watching as much baseball as possible. Each of these became a key factor in my ability to play baseball in college and beyond.
I can almost guarantee that I would not have been an athlete at Arkansas if I would not have sought out someone with more experience early in my high school years.
I had a summer coach in high school that helped me increase my velocity from 83-85 to 87-92. Everything changed for me that summer because I surrounded myself with people who had more knowledge and experience than I had.
As I gain more understanding about disciple-making, I realize that my high school summer coach was making disciples. He was sharing with us everything that he knew and that he had experienced as a former college pitcher himself.
Jesus, Jesus, Jesus
This is exactly what Jesus did during his time on earth. Jesus had more knowledge of God and more experience with his Father than we ever will on this side of eternity. His goal on earth was to impart this knowledge and experience to his disciples. Jesus knew that if He could help a few people really understand the Kingdom of God, then those few would go and communicate the same message to the masses.
The commission given to us, “go make disciples,” is simply a continuation of what Christ did while He was on earth. It’s clear that Jesus intends for His followers to participate in His ministry; the good news for us is that the Helper He sent us is already at work in the people around us.
He has already prepared your discipleship relationship with your neighbor, or coworker, or friend. Don’t worry, here I will introduce two basic steps of making disciples. I promise you will not find these two steps that difficult; it will simply require some courage!
Step 1: Read Your Bible
I do understand that this can be challenging. I’m aware that some spiritual leaders are quick to say, “you need to read your bible” but slow on actually teaching people how to do that. The Bible is composed of 66 books, 40 authors, and it is over 1000 pages long. How many of us will casually pick up a 1000 page book and start reading? Not many.
It’s important to know that if you struggle to consistently read the Bible, you are not alone. A lot of people share this struggle with you.
However if you’re thriving and having consistent quiet times, learning things from God during church and small group, then consider who you see on a daily basis that might be encouraged by what you’ve learned.
Step 2: Tell Someone About What You Read
We could probably agree that this is the part that requires the most courage. How do we know if the person we try to tell will be receptive? We technically don’t, but we trust God.
We trust that God is already at work in the people around us. We trust that God wants to use what He is doing in us to encourage someone else.
Like I said, you are not alone in your struggle to read the Bible consistently. Most would probably say they feel like they should read the Bible more. What if you talking to your coworker, who you also know goes to church, about what God taught you in the Scriptures encourages them to start reading again?
Or better yet.
What if you bring up what you’ve read and by the end of that conversation you and your coworker decide to start a new bible study at work?
Imagine if that Bible Study then led to a flood of your coworkers becoming Christians? Seriously, imagine this happening; pray about it right now.
We never know how those conversations are going to go, and what Spiritual fruit will be produced by them – that’s up to God – but it is our responsibility to “seek first the Kingdom of God” by seeking out where God is already working right in front of us.²
Discipleship relationships aren’t all that hard to navigate, in theory. The difficulty comes when two people bring their spiritual mess to the table. Joy everlasting is found when both people see the Gospel of Jesus Christ clean up that mess and make a masterpiece.
So you know what? Take these two basic steps towards disciple making. I believe in you. I believe in Christ in you. Read your Bible today and tell someone about what you read. God may be doing something right in front of you.
¹ Matthew 11:30
² Matthew 6:33