52 Natural Ways To Kickstart A Disciple-Making Relationship

According to a recent study by Lifeway Research, 80% of churchgoers agree that they are personally responsible to share their beliefs about Jesus with non-Christians.

However, in the next six months only about 39% of them ever will.

The Great Commission in Matthew 28:18-20 starts with “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations”. Another way to translate the word for “go” is “as you go” or “while you are going”.

In other words, disciple making should be a natural way of life for the Christian.

As you go, make disciples.

It’s in the “as you go” that most disciples fail to make disciples. Some wait until Tuesday night visitation to share their faith. Others get excited about dollar drops1, placing tracts in toilet paper rolls, and other good-intentioned but UN-natural tactics of sharing the gospel.

In a culture that craves honesty and authenticity a gospel gimmick isn’t going to make disciples. We need to look for opportunities to be ourselves and make disciples along the way.

Here are 52 (and more in the comments section) natural, non-threatening, relational ideas to help kickstart disciple-making relationships:

As You Go

  • Make eye contact, smile, and initiate conversations
  • Remember people’s names
  • Ask people if you can pray for them
  • Join an athletic club
  • Join a sports league
  • Join a book discussion group (or create one)
  • Meetup with people who have similar interests or hobbies as you (sewing circle, SciFi convention, etc.)
  • Participate in a workshop, seminar, or course that is of help or of interest
  • Volunteer for a cause you care about
  • Use the laundromat at the same time every week
  • Frequent the same gas station and pay inside
  • Avoid ATM’s and self checkout lanes at the grocery store when a person is available
  • Become a regular at local restaurants, shops and cafes.
  • Tutor at the local school
  • Teach a seminar or class at the library or university
  • Find a coworking spot for mobile office work
  • Help your neighbor shovel his driveway or sidewalk

With Your Family

  • Meetup with other parents at the playground
  • Go to story time at the public library or local bookstore
  • Invite your neighbor over for dinner
  • After dinner, allow your invited guests to participate in your time of family worship
  • Get involved in your child’s school
  • Get involved in your child’s extra-curricular activities
  • Check out the local event calendars for fun activities, festivals, parades, etc.
  • Set up a play date for your child
  • Babysit your neighbor’s children so they can go on a date
  • Bake stuff and hand deliver it to your neighbors
  • Get your family involved in volunteering for a cause
  • Help a new family move into the neighborhood or apartment building
  • Setup a lemonade stand or a bake sale for a good cause (and not just for money)
  • Invite your neighbors to go in with you on a yard or sidewalk sale

With A Group

  • Prayerwalk and offer to pray for people
  • Volunteer to clean up a park or a playground
  • Give away water at outdoor events
  • Organize a family event in the park (barbecue, face painting, balloons, games, etc.)
  • Conduct a community needs survey
  • Knock on doors and invite people to a Bible study, church gathering, or party
  • Shovel snow
  • Serve hot chocolate, coffee, cider, or tea on a cold day
  • Serve iced tea, lemonade on a warm day (throw in a couple of frozen strawberries as “ice cubes”)
  • Serve on the cleanup crew for a community event or parade
  • Use the talents of the group (music, drama, art, etc.) to bless your neighbors

 Go International

  • Become a conversation partner with internationals
  • Host an international student, refugee, or immigrant in your home
  • Invite internationals over for a Super Bowl party
  • Host a Fourth of July party
  • Include internationals in your family’s Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners
  • Prepare an American meal and let your international guest participate with you in the preparation
  • Invite your international guest to prepare their favorite meal in your kitchen (you buy the groceries)
  • Organize a game of American football and teach the basics
  • Learn a sport that your international guest loves to play
  • Involve international students in anything you do with your family


If you have “make disciples” on your to-do list, you’ll never get it done.

But if you have “get groceries” or “fill up with gas” on your to-do list and you have an ongoing disciple-making mindset, then you will constantly be meeting and developing relationships with others as you go. Not everyone you meet will become a disciple. Not everyone you show kindness to will appreciate it or be changed by it. But along the way, you will be the hands and feet of Jesus and you will find more and more opportunities to share your faith.

The ideas above are not gimmicks but they are also not the gospel. Jesus didn’t drop a denarius in a crowded street and wait for someone to pick it up and read a message. Jesus went where people lived and worked and He shared His life with them. He cared for them. He loved them.

What would you add to this list? What one thing on the list above will you begin doing this week to kickstart a new relationship with someone? 

1A dollar drop is a servant evangelism technique where you tape a gospel message to a real dollar bill and then drop it on the ground in a busy place. When someone finds it, they pick it up, read the message, and are converted to Christianity.

Nathan is the pastor of City Life Church in Ridgewood, NY. He and his family are committed to making and multiplying disciples in the most diverse county in the US. Read more about Nathan here. Visit the City Life Church website here.

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Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • I’ve used local meetup groups, utilizing meetup.com, to gather people around something non-religious like social media. And it’s not bait-and-switch. It’s merely to connect, not to do a surprise sell of my church.

    • nathancreitz

      My wife has met up with some local moms through meetup.com. Great resource! I also found a linkedin app that encourages people to network with other professionals in the area for lunch. You specify when you are available and if someone else is available at the same time and in the same location they can decide whether or not to meet you for lunch. I think the use of technology in kickstarting disciple-making relationships might be another post altogether. Thanks for sharing your ideas @brandonacox:disqus!

  • Robby Gallaty

    The site looks great. I didn’t realize that you know Brian McMillan (I saw that you retweeted him). He and I are in a mentoring group through Leadership Network.

    How long have you been blogging about discipleship? I just started a Discipleship Webshow devoted to answering the basic questions about discipleship. Through the years, I have found that when believers don’t know what to do, they don’t do anything at all. I am trying to remove the roadblocks in the way of taking the first step.
    The Course is called Discipleship University: http://www.replicateministries.org/training
    I appreciate your insights.