Several years ago when I was studying for my Master’s degree, I was taught five simple truths about disciple making. My heart and mind were opened. These simple truths caused the concept of disciple making to awaken me to new ideas. Though I had felt the call to make disciples in the past, I had always felt as though I wasn’t doing it quite right. What I learned, I have been striving to put into practice ever since. Making disciples is intended to be a part of everything you do as a believer; it’s a way of life.
Here are five areas of your walk with Christ that, if altered slightly, can help you be more effective in making disciples of all nations.
Yes, you should cast your cares upon the Lord because He cares for you (1 Peter). Yes, you should present your requests to God (Phil. 4:6-7). Yes, you should ask, seek, and knock (Matt. 7:7-8) because He will answer! But have you ever thought about how important it is that we pray to the Lord of the Harvest to send out workers into the field (Luke 10). Yes, we should pray that God will save people (Rom. 10:1). Yes, we should pray that God will bring clarity and open up the mystery of the gospel to the lost (Colossians 4). But beyond simple, generic prayers, we should pray intentionally and specifically for God to make disciples through us personally.
Some of us enjoy studying. Some of us don’t. The reality is that many of us only study when we have to, right? The Bible tells us to be good students of the Word (ref). But how are we to make a habit of studying the Bible? I suggest you study as though we are always going to be teaching (not just when it’s our turn to lead the Bible study in Sunday School or small group). We should always be ready to give an answer (1 Peter 3). We should always be preparing our minds for action (1 Peter 1). We should always be renewing our minds (Romans 12). Read the Bible every day, not just so we can check a box off our to-do list, but so that we can be prepared with an answer. Dive deep into the nuances of Scripture and the treasures of His Word, not just so we stay one step ahead of our 1st grader or give a salty rebuttal to a skeptic. Seek to know God’s Word so that we can be renewed and ready to be disciple makers.
I’m sure you aren’t shocked by this one, right? A preacher telling you that you should give money in order to be a disciple maker is not a big shock, huh? Well, here is the truth. Scripture has over 2600 references to money, giving, and spending; therefore, what we do with money is clearly a significant discussion point throughout the Bible. The reason money seems so significant is because it can be so effective in its use. Do you realize how your money is used effectively to help spread the Good News around the World? For instance, at our church, 10% of every non-designated dollar given to the church goes to disciple making in other contexts. We give money to the local Baptist Association, the State Convention, and the Southern Baptist Convention (who allocates money to support missionaries around the United States (NAMB) and the globe (IMB). On top of that, thousands of dollars are allocated within our budget for mission partnerships, evangelistic training, spiritual development, and biblical equipping. Being faithful to give helps to unify the church in her effort to make disciples.
You may have thought that this would have been the first on the list; however, the reality is that going is oftentimes the first thing people want to do WITHOUT doing any of the other. Honestly, if you haven’t first prayed, studied, or given anything -- then I might prefer that you stay home. What kind of example will you set as a disciple maker? What kind of disciple are you? But...if you have prayed, studied, and are actively giving, then my question becomes - what is stopping you from taking the next step by sharing the truth of the Gospel to the lost people of every tongue, nation, and tribe?
Finally, this is one of my favorite words to think about in regards to making disciples. We are called to make disciples who make disciples. That is when we are being our most effective - when we are training and equipping disciples who will in turn train and equip others to make more disciples. The goal is not simply to make converts but to intentionally send others out that they too may train others to be sent out (2 Timothy 2:2).