Linda and I have both been enjoying our Disciple Groups. Most are memorizing at least one passage of Scripture a week and studying lessons from the book Discipleship Essentials, by Greg Ogden and also doing a study of prophetic Scriptures and using also the book by Andy Stanley, Starting Points. The goal is to train those who will train others as Jesus did when He spent the most time with a few men and women who in turn taught others. That process has been going on for nearly 2000 years.
Discipling also involves living life with those who study together. We have been connecting socially with each other at times and are planning some special evenings with our spouses.
Mentoring is one person coming alongside another person in a trusted relationship and advising and coaching him or her, and modeling a certain lifestyle. There are mentors in business and in sports, and likewise mentors in living a life for Christ.
Discipleship is the process of bringing a person to Christ, guiding, instructing, and equipping him or her to follow Christ in every area of their life.
Below are some of the over 40 men I am discipling at the present time:
The Holy Spirit has used Matthew 28:19,20 to speak to me, especially the phrase in verse 20 (NIV) “… teaching them to obey” (“observe” in the NKJV). Most of us have been raised with a Greek concept of knowledge that says, right thinking leads to right acting.There is clearly truth expressed in this paradigm. However, left there it can lead to an emphasis on academia, information, ideas, and Bible Studies, etc.
The Hebrew concept of knowledge is right acting leads to right thinking. This is probably why Jesus called people to first follow Him and then they grew in knowledge. Discipleship then becomes action-reflection, embodiment, mentoring and modeling. In other words we learn best by doing.
Most have heard the sobering statistics that reveal a large percentage of people profess Christ but they seem to have little impact on their culture. So maybe Jesus did have it right when He said obeying God’s Word is a demonstration of our love for God (John 14:21). The demonstrative influence of followers of Christ in their webs of relationships and in their walks of life is an evidence of their followership.
We hope, within our capacity to influence men and women for Christ, Linda and I will see verifiable results of transformation and reproduction. Each person we disciple will be challenged to disciple another person or small group in his or her sphere of influence. What will be gained? Biblical knowledge, life transformation and multiplication of disciples as Jesus commanded.
My strategy is to measure results of disciples generationally as revealed in 2 Timothy 2:2. There are four generations mentioned in this passage— Paul taught Timothy, Timothy taught faithful men who taught others.