Here is part 2 of our "Making Disciples, not decisions" Blog. If you have not read part 1, here it is: http://www.compelled.org/blog/2014/8/21/making-disciples-not-decisions-part-1
In discipleship, I believe that we need to not focus on a program, as much as the tenants of discipleship. What did Jesus do with His disciples that truly helped them grow more and more into spiritual maturity? And what have I experienced and done with others which has helped in a person’s sanctification process? These are the 6 tenants that I believe we should start practicing in order to see more and more students become more and more like their teacher. (Luke 6:40)
Jesus took 12, unqualified men, and had a 91.67% success rate with them (Judas didn’t work out so well, if you didn’t get that), and turned the world upside down with the message of the Gospel. He did this not by making decisions, but disciples.
Jesus taught His disciples… not in a lecture type of teaching, where His students would learn just enough to get through a test so that they could graduate to the next grade level. Instead, He taught them how to think, how to ask questions, and how to find answers for themselves—without Google. Therefore, teaching is the 1st tenant of discipleship.
The Professor Howard Hendricks, who taught and discipled men at Dallas Theological Seminary for many decades, said: “A teacher’s job is not to instill information, but to make the learner want to learn more.”
Christians, are you helping those who you are walking with WANT to learn more about Jesus? Not giving them all of the answers, but helping them figure out how to find answers, and want to really dive into who God is, through His Word?
Teachers, be available to help those around you engage with God’s Word; help them find answers, but don’t do it for them! Teaching is vital to discipleship, but that isn’t all. Not even close.
As we walk with and disciple those whom God has entrusted us to help grow in their spiritual maturity, we must have a level of accountability—the 2nd tenant of discipleship. Accountability is a word that can make us feel a lot of different emotions. Accountability exists to help others know that they are not doing this process alone.
Picture this: You are running down the beach and in your peripheral, see very, very attractive volleyball players playing beach volleyball. As you run on the sand and see them, they stop playing and start to watch you. Are you going to start to run differently now that they’re watching you? Would you? You would, but why? Because WE DO BETTER WHEN WE KNOW SOMEONE IS WATCHING.
And the same is true with accountability; we will do better in our every day lives if we have appointed friends who watch our lives closely and have the authority to speak into them. It’s not a secret that I have experienced lust issues. Because I am susceptible to that specific struggle, I have an accountability partner who also is a pastor, and who also struggles with the same issue.
So, when I am home alone and I’m working on a message or just playing on the Internet, I’ll text my accountability partner and say: “Hey man, I’m by myself; would you check on me in an hour?” Because I may be a pervert, but I’m not a liar, and if I know that I’m going to be checked in on in an hour, I will probably not fail. Accountability is vital to the discipleship process, but it’s only a piece.
Life On Life (Fellowship)
In Acts 2, Luke writes that the early church, the group of believers who had turned their lives and hearts over to Jesus Christ, devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship. They spent time with one another, because they believed in the same God, and wanted the same thing: to experience and know Him more. The 3rd tenant of discipleship is life on life, which is the “less spiritual” way of saying fellowship.
We need to actually DO life with those whom we are leading! I believe that “more is caught than taught,” and if we do not do things with those who we are leading—to allow them to witness how we respond to everyday life circumstances—they will never pick it up in the way they could experiencing it for themselves.
Leaders, if you speak or do trainings, or any type of ministry that requires you to travel, take your student/disciple/apprentice with you! So much can be experienced, talked about, and done in a car ride while going somewhere. Lead them, check in on them, pray with them.
Life on life is the reason that many of us miss out on truly discipling someone because we act as if it is all academic, but it is just as much experiential. There are many pastors and teachers who I often listen to and learn from, but they are not discipling me, because we do not hang out or have any time where either of us truly know who one another actually are.
Have you ever had a mentor? What made them your mentor? Was it that they were older than you? Did they speak into your life? Had they experienced something that you hadn’t, that you wanted to know more about? Did you respect them enough to allow what they had to say to make a difference in your mind and life?
Often, we confuse mentorship—the 4th tenant—for discipleship. And even though mentorship is a part of discipleship, it is not the end all.
Mentorship is essentially the act of giving advice. Based on what someone does with your advice will help determine if they are actually allowing you to be their mentor. If you give someone advice, and they take it, use it, and come back for more, you are on the way to being that someone’s mentor. You are a person who can give advice, and help speak into their life as needed.
One of the most important things that needs to be done in a discipling relationship is application, which is the 5th tenant. Giving someone something to do. A mentor of mine once said, "You should always give someone something to do at the end of a meeting with them, because if they don’t do it, you don’t have to meet with them again.” And even though the goal is not to get out of having to meet, if someone who claims to want to be discipled isn’t going to truly buy into the application, you have to cut him or her loose after a few times of not doing what was expected.
The one thing none of us ever get more of is time. If someone is going to waste your time, you are better off finding someone who will actually engage in your expectations and apply what they have learned. Growth will not take place if someone constantly flakes on you. When I give the different men I disciple application at the end of our times together, it is generally based on their needs and/or the purpose of replication.
In regards to application, things that I ask almost every time a meeting is over with a disciple/student/apprentice are: “What did you learn?” and “Who are you going to share it with?” Those specific things help trigger particular points that were important from the discipleship time (especially if it was a group discipleship time), and it gives them the opportunity to teach what they have learned to someone else, so it will not become stale. They will remember better, and they will not effectively harden their hearts by hearing the truth and being idle with it.
My family and I have moved a lot since we started multiplying. But, if we had stayed in one home for a while, we probably would have had a wall in the house, where, as our children grew physically, we would take a pencil and write how tall say... Reagan (my oldest child) was. And then, the following year, we would record how tall she was again, and would be able to see the difference in growth, through measurement, which is the 6th tenant.
As disciple-makers, we must actually help measure how our disciples are doing. We need to have markers that they can go after and we can look back at, so that we can celebrate their growth. Because God’s plan is to sanctify us—also known as spiritual growth, which is a process—spiritual maturity is a marathon, not a sprint. And even though we are not where we want to be, Praise God we are not where we used to be! It seems in the church today, we are very good at condemning someone who takes a step back, but terrible at celebrating those who take a step forward.
So, disciple-makers, please measure those whom you are leading, speak into their lives, celebrate their growth, encourage them to keep up the good fight, and run the marathon of the Christian walk.
Now, these 6 things: teaching, accountability, life on life, mentorship, application, and measurement are not revolutionary, new ideas. They are what Jesus did with His disciples. I only point them out so that these 6 tenants can be points of focus while you help disciple others. They are not to get you to do “one a day” with people as some kind of checklist—just as a pastor’s job is not to pastor everyone, but to make sure that everyone is pastored. As a disciple, your job isn’t necessarily to do all 6 of these tenants with everyone you walk with, but to make sure that all 6 are being done.
This past summer I had the privilege of walking alongside a group of men. What was great was that I could do much of the teaching, life on life, mentorship, application, and measurement. But, since we had a group of men, I could put them accountability pairs. And, for example, if I wanted to find out how Trevor was doing in a particular area, I could ask Wes, and vice versa. I didn’t do all of the accountability, but I made sure someone was doing it.
As you put these tenants into practice, I recommend that you look for faithful, available, and teachable (F.A.T.) individuals who you can pour your life into. No program will ever touch a life like another person can—by pouring out their life into someone else’s. Jesus did it, Paul did it, and the disciples did it.
The only way this world will be reached with the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is if we make disciples who make disciples. If we are not willing, and all that we want to do is sit on the sideline while God uses other people to make much of Himself, maybe we are the kink in the hose!
If you are in interested in being discipled, I would first recommend that you look for someone that you know, that you respect, and that you envy their walk with Jesus, and ask them if they would disciple you. But be specific, if you resonate with how this blog defines discipling, then have that person read this blog and ask them to do these 6 tenants with you. A good friend once said "Un communicated expectations are just future disappointments." So be clear on what discipling you should look like.
If you don't have anyone in mind as of right now, we have created a Discipleship page on Compelled.org for those who would at least like to be taught, and we have created questions that go with each discipleship video that can be answered by you and a possible discipler. So please check out the link: http://www.compelled.org/discipleship/
And contact us: http://www.compelled.org/contact/ and let us know that you are going through the videos, and we would love to attempt to connect you with someone who could help lead you in these 6 tenants of discipleship.
I pray that you would take this definition of discipling, and disciple someone else with it. Christians, if we would pour out what we have had poured in, this world would be won for the cause of Christ!