This is the sixth post in our series called What Is Disciple-Making All About? Click the links for our first five posts regarding sharing life with others, multiplication (scroll down to page 4), the role of the Bible, disciple-making as a process, approaching disciple-making as a cooperative endeavor, and impacting Christians and non-Christians.
You could say we’ve saved the best for last. After all, what is disciple-making all about if it’s not about Jesus?
The disciple/teacher relationship was common at the time of Christ, and people understood the breadth of discipleship relationships better than we do. The Greek word for disciple was related to the verb “to learn,” and disciples recognized that they would receive a certain body of information from their discipler. There was more, though. As the discipler communicated information to his disciples, that information was bound to the character and life of the discipler. Being a disciple was about more than content. To a degree, it involved receiving the very life of the discipler.
How easily we forget that Jesus’ command to make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19) is a call to connect people to Jesus himself! Amidst techniques and strategies to help people navigate life, we sometimes lose sight of Christ’s uniqueness. When this happens the result is a well-intentioned Christianese version of self-help. To be the sort of disciple-makers who have eternal impact, we must direct people to build on Christ, the only foundation (1 Corinthians 3:10,11), and to abide in Christ, the only source of fruitfulness (John 15:5).
Here’s a good acid test: as you engage people around you, does the name of Jesus come up eventually? Discussions of spirituality and God can be great inroads for Christian disciple-makers, but they aren’t the goal. Whether we are dealing with a Christian or a non-Christian, he or she can always stand to move a step closer to Jesus, the giver of life. This needn’t be a preachy thing, either. Good questions that invoke the name and work of Jesus (such as, “What’s your impression of Jesus as a leader?” or “How do you think the Gospel challenges the anxiety you are facing?”) can help.
Time for your thoughts. How have you kept the focus on Jesus in your disciple-making efforts? Leave us a comment!
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