Matthew 4:18-22; 28:16-20
We all are called to make disciples! There are only two kinds of people who cannot disciple, and that is one who is not a follower of Christ and/or one who disobeys God's command and refuses to disciple.
· Disciple by obeying and doing as Jesus did! Set up a plan; target a small select group of people without ignoring the others around you!
· In Proverbs 27:17 and1 Corinthians 10:12, we are told to come along side and encourage those who are down, who are new, who are old, who are immature, and who are mature. In other words, everyone.
· Teaming up with God and others makes it possible!
To reach the goal set before you, there are three P's you need to seek and pray about:
1. Preparation--never go off and do what you are not led and equipped to do!
2. Process--following a strategic plan from His precepts!
3. People--encircle yourself with good God fearing Christians to help you see possibilities and directions!)
Ponder these thoughts and ask yourself these questions in prayer:
· After doing a personal inventory of myself about my faith, have I truly become His disciple or am I just wearing the uniform?
· Do I love Him wholeheartedly? Then what is the obstacle to obeying Him?
· Is the Holy Spirit convicting me of a sin or a bad attitude that I need to confess and submit to Christ?
· Do I have a good understanding of God's calling, and am I obediently pursuing it?
· Who is really in charge of my decisions, me, or the Lord?
· After reading 2 Tim. 2:19, does He know me? Do others know that He knows me?
· Do I use Jesus or does He use me? Is He a divine bellhop or my Lord?
· Do I constantly remind myself what I am living for, a future hope in eternity?
· Am I willing to do whatever it takes to become more like Jesus?
· Calvin said I must be willing to "regulate my life and manners according to the Scriptures! " Am I?
· Where do I need to go and what do I need to do? (Seek God's will by knowing His character and precepts from Scripture, and look in your heart. Find your spiritual gifts and what opportunities are before you. See our channel on God's Will!)
· Set goals for myself, as it is better to prepare than to repair! St. Francis of Assisi said, "Start by doing what is necessary; then do what is possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible."
· Do I practice my spiritual disciplines in a consistent manner?
· Is my family in good shape?
· Have I discovered my spiritual gifts and then prioritized my ministry to complement them?
· Do I have prayer partners to provide essential support?
· Do I see the seriousness of obedience that my eternal destiny depends on? Do I realize that Jesus required His disciples to distinguish between appearance and reality, that is, between being true Christians and just going through the motions?
· What is my attitude toward myself, the people around me, my situation, the precepts of Scripture, and the opportunities and life that Christ offers me?
· If He is Lord then He is my boss and conqueror, although in His case, a loving and caring boss with my best interest in mind, and a good and gracious King! Thus, am I willing to turn over the reigns of my will to Him, not somewhat, or half way, but allow Him to be in control entirely? As St. Augustine said, "If He is not Lord of all, then He is not Lord at all."
· Am I afraid of failure? (If so, remember that God understands the difficulties, and it is OK to fail as long as you tried and were obedient! Remember, Jeremiah was a big failure in the eyes of his county and world, but a great man of obedience in God's eyes!)
· My focus must be on Christ, not on how to disciple. I must not let the process be my doctrine, but rather, Christ!
· Do I confess God with my lips and deny Him in my daily life? It is not difficult to belong to a church or recite a creed, but it is hard to live the Christian life. Yet, He gives us the love, grace, and means to do so.
· How do I define faith? Remember, faith without action is a contradiction, and love without obedience is impossible!
· We become disciples by being discipled and then going and doing it to and for others!
As we walk the Christian life, we must be careful that in our strategies and struggles, we do not lose sight of God and His purpose. We typically try to come up with some type of short cut for success. However, in Him, there are no shortcuts. Maturity and discipleship are lifelong pursuits, and we are to always be growing and bettering ourselves through the Word, prayer, spiritual disciplines, and our Godly relationships. These are the tools. He is the means.
You may ask, Why should I be willing to give up riches, comfort, fun and even friends to follow Christ as His disciple? When we read the gospels, especially Luke, we are given a very compelling motivation--the salvation and blessings that Jesus gives us. These things are eternal, while what we give up are very limited and temporary. Giving up a smaller benefit for a superior one is smart and practical, both in business and in being a disciple of Christ!
If you are a church leader and feel this is just too much and you are feeling overwhelmed, remember it does not happen overnight, it takes a lifetime. If you are still unsure, then consider this. One of the main reasons people leave their church is they have no real relationships there! Discipleship is the means for relationship building! We are designed for something more in life than just pursuing pleasures. That is why people who "have it all" still feel empty. God did not create any Lone Ranger Christians. He created us to be in community, in relationships with one another, and discipleship is the key to that community. God calls us to lift one other up. There should not be a single person in the church that does not have at least one person they can call a friend and have a relationship with outside the church campus and programs.
Take this to heart: Jesus never asked anyone to do anything without enabling them with the power to do it. Let this be you encouraging motive!
Some passages to consider on discipleship: Proverbs 18:24; Matthew 7:18-24; 19:28-30; 10:1-42; Mark1:1-5; Luke 9:23-25; 48; Luke 14:26-27; John. 8:31; 12:20-26; John 14; 15; 1 John:5:3; 1 Corinthians 3:5-11; 2 Timothy 2:7; 1 Peter 3:15.
© 1987, 2002, R. J. Krejcir Ph.D. Schaeffer Institute of Church Leadership, www.churchleadership.org/