God’s heart is that people all over the world come to know Him intimately and worship Him (John 4:22-24).
He has designed a way for us to participate with Him in making that happen: The Making of Disciples (Matt. 28:19-20).
Greg Ogden, in Transforming Discipleship, states that Jesus invested in a few at a time for the following reasons.
1) Internalization – of the person and teachings of Christ
2) Multiplication – of more disciples
There is always the internalization of the person of Jesus and the mission of multiplying more disciples of Jesus. Without both of these it is not Biblical disciple making.
Disciple (mathetes) = pupil, learner, student. “Always implies the existence of a personal attachment which shapes the whole life of the one being described as “disciple” and which leaves no doubt as to who is deploying the formative power.”
Theological Dictionary of the NT
Disciple Making = Followers of Jesus Christ INTENTIONALLY and RELATIONALLY, TEACHING other people to follow Jesus, who will in turn do the same.
Building Blocks for a Theology of Making Disciples
The following building blocks all flow from the foundation of a community that seeks to Love God, Love the Body of Christ, and Love those outside the Body of Christ
1) Following Jesus - Being a person who has said “yes” to the sacrificial following of the life, teaching, death of Jesus as God in the flesh.
Luke 9:23; 14:23, Matt. 4:18-20; 8:18-23; 16:24
Deny Self Take up your crossFollow Me (cleave steadfastly to me, conform wholly to my example, in living and if need be in dying also)
2) Inviting others to Follow you as You follow Jesus Christ – In the spirit of Christ, bringing others along on your journey. Do not be afraid to do this.
I Cor. 11:1; I Thess. 1:6; II Thess. 3:7-9, Phil. 3:17
3) Intentionally Teaching the whole Gospel – Teaching the Truth does not happen accidentally. Jesus or Paul never give indication that if you just spend time with someone Truth will be taught. They do the opposite.
Matt. 28:19-20; John 8:31; Acts 11: 26; Acts 20:20&27; 2 Timothy 2:2
4) Relationally Investing beyond friendship (time) – Friendship is not all there is to the discipleship process. Just because two Christians are friends does not necessarily mean they are discipling each other.
The Four Gospels, I Thess. 2:8 – The imparting/giving/sharing of our souls (life)
Where disciples are made, people share/impart their souls. “Life” is too weak of a word because it does not communicate the depth of the imparting. When you share your soul you are dipping in to the depths of your HOPE in Christ in the real places of your life.
Hebrews 6:19 - We have this [hope] -- like a sure and firm anchor of the soul -- that enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain.
5) Humble Earned Authority – There is a place for people to submit to authority in our spiritual lives; it is earned.
I Thess. 2:7&11-12; 1 timothy 1:2 ; 2 Timothy 1:2; 2:2 (All of 1 & 2 Timothy has the language of Paul’s authority in Timothy’s life). It is important to note that Paul and Timothy had probably been together 15 years. The relationship is characterized with words like “father”, “son” and “child”. These indicate a relationship of authority based on LOVE, not control. Humble earned authority is always in a relationship of the discipler loving the one being discipled.
6) The Power of the Holy Spirit – It is clear from Jesus and Paul that strength does not come from our own effort in discipleship but from the promised Holy Spirit.
I Thess. 1:5-7; John 14:12-17; 15:26-27 The Spirit of truth
There will be almost no greater joy in your life than seeing that person become more like Jesus – to see the light bulb of a love for God’s word – the defeat of a sin – watching them pass you in their influence for the kingdom.
“I constantly remember you in my prayers night and day. Remembering your tears, I long to see you so that I may be filled with joy, clearly remembering your sincere faith. . .” – 2 timothy 1:3-5
To the Thessalonians:
“We greatly desired and made every effort to return and see you face to face. . . For who is our hope , or joy, or crown of boasting in the presence of our lord Jesus at His coming? Is it not you? For you are our glory and joy!”