Yesterday I was blessed with the opportunity to teach discipleship with SEND North America. The young guys doing SEND this year have a real hunger to grow in their relationship with Christ and serve His Kingdom right here and now on earth. They are comprehensively equipped with teaching, spiritual formation disciplines, and hands on mission training in both the local and international context.
My lessons yesterday focused on moving from a decision to place your faith in Christ to following Christ as a disciple. The second session was a teaching on discipleship as spiritual reproduction. I’d like to share a couple of my biggest points from each session with you in today’s blog.
Session 1: “Decision to Discipleship”
To begin, to be a disciple, you must be internally crucified. Christ says very clearly in Luke 9 that we are to pick up our cross daily and follow him. This means we crucify our fleshy desires and self-interest in exchange for living in the will of the Father. In turn to make disciples, you must be intentional and committed. The intriguing part is that being intentional and committed can be described as being a disciple the same way being internally crucified is required to make disciples. The focus is not on duplicating a copy of yourself, but rather an imprint of Christ. Paul says repeatedly to imitate him as he imitates Christ (see 1 Cor. 4:16 and 11:1). There should always be a focus on the Spirit who lives within (see Galatians 2:20).
Decided–Have accepted the gift of grace and chose to put faith in Christ.
Disciplined–Have the ability not to give into temptation, flee from sin, and rebuke Satan.
Discerning–Have the Holy Spirit in them to help guide from sin to righteousness.
Dedicated–Have faith in Jesus and willingness to follow him at all costs.
Determined–Have the mind of Christ and the heart for His mission.
Session 2: “Discipleship as Spiritual Reproduction”
Dr. Kent Hunter likes to say that God’s command to Adam and Eve to be fruitful and multiply was instruction on filling earth. But Jesus’ command to the Church to make disciples was instruction to fill Heaven. These are “population” statements. Discipleship is a process of spiritual reproduction.
As people reach physical maturity, enter into a marriage relationship and reproduce offspring, so the Church, the Bride of Christ should reproduce disciples who in turn will grow spiritually mature and likewise reproduce. Discipleship as spiritual reproduction is essential for continually allowing the Spirit to work in the Church and partner with God in growing the Kingdom.
Biblical and practical ways to making disciples happen through the discipler loving, leading, learning, and living with those they are discipling.
Love your disciples by giving them your time, talent, treasures, and tools. These are areas where you equip them in mission and ministry.
Lead your disciples by modeling Christ-like behavior, motivating and mentoring them through tough seasons and teaching them to train and multiply their own disciples.
Learn from your disciples and continually be in readiness of “going”, growing spiritually, and giving of yourself. Likewise gain wisdom from the person disicpling you so that you can in turn pour that knowledge into the ones you are discipling and continue the movement.
Live a life of discipleship by serving others, making sacrifices for those your mentoring and sacrifices for Kingdom expansion. Remember the process of sanctification, always striving to allow the Spirit’s transforming work to take shape in your life. And send out your disciples the way Jesus did in order to keep reproducing in Christ.
Biblical and practical ways for calling disciples include praying for them (John 17) asking for them (Matthew 9:35-38), and keeping eyes open to look for them (Luke 10:23-24).
I hope these lessons will help equip you to make disciples, who make disciples, who make disciples.