Christian discipleship can be a pretty broad category. In this list I’m narrowing it down to three main areas: being a disciple, making disciples, and multiplying disciples.
I. On Being A Disciple
Books “on being a disciple” are numerous and can include hundreds of categories. Books on doctrine, spiritual disciplines, and sharing the gospel can all be helpful to new and maturing disciples alike. Of course, making disciples is also an integral part of being a disciple, but for the purpose of this post I’ve included a book on cultivating your faith, lifestyle discipleship, spiritual warfare, serving Jesus with joy, and family discipleship.
Millions of people will soon be writing down their New Year Resolutions. We might decide to eat healthier and exercise more, but will disciple making be a goal in 2015?
Making disciples is a spiritual exercise but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t set goals and develop a strategy.
Satan has a strategy.
He has a disciple destroying strategy and it is extremely effective. He has a goal and that is to undermine the work of God.
Satan has been perfecting his strategy for millennia and he’s using it on you. Today.
Prosperity Theology brags, “Give us the highest positions of power.”
True Belief begs, “Please be merciful and give me sight.”
In the Book of Acts, planting churches in unreached areas was the natural application of the Great Commission.
In fact, the logical implication of the Great Commission is that it would be done in the context of the local church wherever it exists and that it would lead to establishing local churches where they don’t exist. Baptism isn’t something that is done isolated from Body life. It is the initiatory rite of a new disciple into the church. Naturally, if a church doesn’t exist and we are pursuing the disciple-making mission, a church needs to be established or we aren’t being faithful to Jesus’ commands. The New Testament knows nothing of a lone ranger evangelist who saves souls and moves on. The church is where disciples are baptized and taught.
This was the approach the apostles took when they were empowered by the Spirit. They established a church in Jerusalem. Then, when the persecution arose against them and many were forced out of Jerusalem, they began making disciples and establishing churches everywhere they went in Judea and in Samaria. Soon, churches were established as far out as Antioch which was a Gentile city. They were fulfilling Jesus’ mandate to be witnesses and to make disciples.
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:
This post is part of The Disciple Making Preacher series. This series attempts to answer those who are against preaching and to propose that preaching is an irreplaceable means of disciple making in the church today.
The prophets of doom in today’s Church are confidently predicting that the day of preaching is over. It is a dying art, they say, an outmoded form of communication, ‘an echo from an abandoned past’. John Stott
Modern forms of communication have had a profound effect on preaching, preachers, and parishioners today.
Some preachers have shortened their messages to cater to the dwindling attention spans of their people. Others have supplemented their sermons with video clips and other visual aids in preaching.
But perhaps worst of all, there are those who have decided that preaching is completely outdated and must be replaced altogether. While supplementing a sermon with video or drama on occasion is not inherently bad, supplanting the sermon completely is a big problem.
A Media-Saturated Problem
The average American watches nearly 5 hours of video each day on TV’s, phones, and computers according to the latest Nielsen Cross-Platform Report.
The average YouTube video is 2 to 3 minutes. Most hour long TV shows might have 6 or 7 commercial breaks.
Hollywood movies have even found a mathematical formula that lets them match the effects of their shots to the attention spans of their audiences.