Jesus instructs us to “Go and make disciples.” Over the next few posts we will talk in more detail about what that looks like. In this post, let’s look at a brief overview of the relational aspects of being a disciple.
Developing disciple making connections begins with understanding that every personal relationship revolves around our spiritual relationship with Christ. The primary relationship for the disciple maker is being in love with Jesus. We share what we love and what we love consumes our lives, permeates everything we do and all that we are, and directs the path we travel.
Discipling relationships result when the Love of Christ enters you, flows through you and transforms those around you.
Making disciples is not just having a Bible study. Rather, it is the transformation of your life to reflect the character and conduct of Christ. Everyone is being “discipled” by someone or something. Education, athletics, entertainment and thug-onomics are all willing teachers eager to disciple you. Each person is responsible for determining the source of the information that determines their transformation.
When we fall in love with the source of our life, Christ (Col. 3:4), our relationship grows through communication with Him. As a child, I learned how to pray by observing others, sadly, there weren’t many good models. Since then, God has placed people in my life that have demonstrated how to communicate with God through prayer. God speaks to us through His Word, music, circumstance, our praise...and we learn to recognize His voice. Too often prayer is approached from an, “I’ll talk, you listen,” mentality, but true communication occurs when we express our life to God, we hear His response and we go in obedience to His instruction
Evangelism will effectively follow a strong relationship with God. Anyone can learn the latest evangelism tool and be very persuasive with it. We need to teach the importance of guiding the unbeliever in the understanding that salvation is the result of a relationship, not a magical prayer. As we train believers in methods of sharing the Gospel, we should teach how to build bridges into the lives of those they are sharing Christ with. Most evangelistic relationships last years before a decision is made, we cannot microwave the Gospel and have instant results. Actually, we should teach that the results are not up to us. The sharing believer will receive more no’s than yeses. Therefore, we must live in obedience to God, loving Him with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, and loving our neighbors whether or not they come into a saving relationship through Christ.
Time, dedication, concern, sacrificial, honesty, vulnerability, love...just a few terms that don’t define discipleship but are important nutrients in the cells that keep the body growing. The seemingly incidental text messages, phone calls, visits, lunches are vital points of contact that stimulate the spiritual transformation of the disciple. We must teach disciple-makers the importance of making contacts is a priority. The communication made during the week tends to be far more beneficial than the once a week gathering.
We should also teach the disciple-maker to continue being a disciple. We need relationships with believers more mature than we are, who have our trust as a spiritual mentor. Don’t underestimate the power of modeling what you are teaching. The disciple will grasp the importance quicker when he sees his discipler living his instruction and the discipler will be better equipped as your disciple becomes more like him. (1 Corinthians 11:1).