In the Great Commission Yeshua commanded His followers: “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you…” (Matthew 28:19-20). The moment you believe in Yeshua and are born again, you become a lifelong discipleship, and…you take up the charge to become an active “discipler.”
As a young believer, I sometimes felt frustrated by the vagueness of the Great Commission. Why couldn’t Yeshua go into more detail of the ‘how to’ for His global discipleship initiative? I believe now that He intentionally did not give a specific formula – so that we would study His life example and apply what we learn from it through our own creativity, methods and personalities.
Among others, here are four key ingredients that I personally have found to be foundational in helping bring disciples to maturity:
The foundation for all discipleship is the Word of God. Disciples need to develop a lifestyle of regular meditation in the Word. You should also teach them to become familiar with all the books of the Bible, and how to read them in context. In addition, help them know how to teach others the basics (II Timothy 3:16-17), through testimonies of personally applying God’s Word in your life. Don’t limit Bible teaching to someone standing in front of a group of people holding a microphone — or to “YouTube” videos!
2) One on One Meetings
Quality time, face-to-face, is a must. In these meetings we listen on two levels, 1) to the person with us and, 2) to the Holy Spirit. Don’t assume the advice you gave someone else in a previous session will work for your new disciple. We need to be led by the Holy Spirit in how we ask questions, share our hearts and pray. These personal meetings can happen anywhere (I like to take my guys hiking in the nearby hills). Be sure to include transparency and accountability. Share about your shortcomings and victories, but don’t do all the talking.
3) The Supernatural
Seeking to walk in and demonstrate the supernatural is critical (I Corinthians 2:4-5). This includes praying for the sick together, experiencing God’s presence in worship, giving prophetic words and much more. Training others in the gifts of the Holy Spirit requires faith and risk. The more they are exercised, the more they will grow. We cannot love, engage in spiritual warfare or do anything else that will bear kingdom fruit without the supernatural anointing of God on our lives.
When you spend time investing in someone, the natural result is an authentic relationship. You don’t have to be so serious all the time. Invite them into your personal life. Play a game. Go to the beach. Hike a mountain. Laugh, eat and enjoy life together. With so many broken families today, multitudes are longing to experience and be a part of a loving family (Malachi 4:6). Watching how you interact with your spouse and children is part of their training.
The beauty of discipleship keys, is that few people excel in them all. This means everyone in the body of Messiah has a part to play. You may not be a great teacher, but instead excel in hospitality and bringing others into your home. Great, then do it regularly and intentionally (Romans 12:6-8)!
Recently, one of the young men I have been mentoring for years has begun meeting with a teenager to invest in him. Watching someone grow in the Lord to the point where they are ready to sow into someone else, brings me great joy and makes all the effort worthwhile!
Yeshua’s command to make disciples requires sacrifice, unconditional love, patience and availability. No matter how you feel, where you are in life or what level of training you have, you still have something to give to someone else. As you obey the Great Commission, He is ready to use you in ways you have not imagined!