Growth In Christ

How Do I Make Disciples Part 9

Paul Gotthardt1 comment4104 views

Big Idea: Disciples are made when people pursue Christ by loving God, uniting with believers, serving the world, and entrusting the Gospel.

Review: These are the previous Big Idea statements.
The Gospel is God’s good news that saves and sanctifies a person.
You never grow beyond the Gospel. Christianity is about relationship.
The basic goals are to know God (by spending time with God) and for God to live His life through you.
Spending time with God should be motivated by love.
Scripture is the final authority for all beliefs, experiences, and actions.
Prayer is conversation with God; we speak and listen.
A disciple is more than an educated believer; a disciple wants to become like Christ.
To follow Christ is to be like Christ.  

How are disciples made? What does it look like to follow Christ?

If you were to ask the average Christian how disciples are made, the conversation almost always turns to a small group gathering. “We have a great Sunday school department,” or “We have small groups that meet throughout the week.” While disciples are made in community, that’s not the extent of disciple making.

Here’s a great question for every Christian: “How did Jesus disciple the 12?” Did He meet with them for a Bible study once a week? What did He do?

Several years ago, our staff made the disciple making approach of Christ the central focus of our staff retreat. We wrote down everything that we saw Jesus teaching, modeling, or doing with the 12. We also wrote down how Paul discipled Timothy, Titus, John Mark, and others. After compiling our list, we grouped the statements under 4 main headings. When finished, we wrote the following statement:

Disciples are made when people pursue Christ by loving God, uniting with believers, serving the world, and entrusting the Gospel.

Love, Unite, Serve, Entrust. Here’s some things we included under each section.

Under loving God, we included

  • Enjoying intimate fellowship with God
  • Getting to know God through His Word
  • Talking with God through prayer
  • Spending time with God
  • Worshipping Him

Under uniting with believers, we included…

  • Christian community: In the New Testament, believers enjoyed life together. Jesus and Paul traveled with their disciples, had meals together, served together, studied Scripture together, etc. They spent time with each other.
  • United lives: New Testament disciples were united in mission, prayer, service, vision, love, Bible study, etc. They were not just gathering in a group; they were united around common goals and purposes.
  • Genuine love: Love for other believes defined people as Christ’s disciples.

Under serving the world, we included…

  • Showing people love through our actions—not just our words.
  • Following Christ’s example of serving others
  • Investing in people, families, communities, and nations

Under entrusting the Gospel, we included…

  • Sharing the Gospel of the Kingdom
  • Entrusting the teachings of Christ to others
  • Inviting others to join in God’s Kingdom activity
  • Disciples making disciples.

Disciples love, unite, serve, and entrust. Other insights also emerged.

(1) We noticed that the three key relationships for Christians are clearly seen: our relationship with God is in the first point, our relationship with the Church is in the second point, and our relationship with the world is in the final 2 points.

(2) The statements are action oriented. Each statement has a verb that activates the thought: LOVE (is a verb), UNITE (is a verb), SERVE (is a verb), ENTRUST (is a verb). This description of discipleship is action oriented.

(3) Making disciples requires spending time together. This piece is crucial. While Jesus taught and modeled a life of love, unite, serve, entrust—He lived it with them. They experienced it together. The same pattern is seen as Paul invested in Timothy, Luke, and Titus. Paul spent time with those he discipled.

You can instruct crowds from a distance. You can educate believers from a distance. You can caste vision from a distance. But you cannot make disciples from a distance. Making disciples requires time together.

Everyone’s journey with God is going to look a little different, but the disciple’s orientation (or general path through life) is the same. Disciples pursue Christ by loving God, uniting with believers, serving the world, and entrusting the Gospel.

The description can serve like a spiritual compass. If you want to make sure that the course of your life is moving towards growth as a disciple, place these truths over your life and ask God to revel the course corrections that need to be made. Loving God must remain our “spiritual north.” Everything else flows out of this one relationship.

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If you find yourself at a spiritual plateau, ask, “What’s missing?” If you find yourself going through a spiritual dry spell, place this spiritual compass over your life. You will notice that one or more of these areas is missing or underutilized. This spiritual compass can provide immediate insights into your journey with God. It can help you see the action steps that are needed to go to the next level. It also can help you recognize where you are and what steps need to happen for future growth.

Disciples are made when people pursue Christ by loving God, uniting with believers, serving the world, and entrusting the Gospel.

Q&A

Paul Gotthardt
Is learning to live from the overflow of my relationship with Jesus; Husband, Father, Pastor, Church Planter, Author, UGA grad... football and UFC enthusiast.

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