Disciple-Making Intentionality

Disciple-Making is an intentional practice.

It requires us to keep up with Jesus and what He is doing in the life of another person. There is not one equation, recipe or formula; disciple-making is an art. In the artist’s mind is a vision. And our vision is of Jesus.

Every follower of Jesus can be a disciple-maker in response to Him. Joining Him in His Kingdom mission is the outcome of being with Him and being changed by Him. You don’t have to become a pastor, priest, or minister. Our disciple-making dream as disciples of Jesus does not require a position or an office. It requires intentionality.

A Disciple-Stages Grid

Disciple-making requires the intentionality of being a “parent.” The elder John clearly had it in mind when he wrote:

12I am writing to you, little children,

because your sins are forgiven for his name’s sake.

13I am writing to you, fathers,

because you know him who is from the beginning.

I am writing to you, young men,

because you have overcome the evil one.

I write to you, children,

because you know the Father.

14I write to you, fathers,

because you know him who is from the beginning.

I write to you, young men,

because you are strong,

and the word of God abides in you,

and you have overcome the evil one.

1 Peter 2:12-14

 

At our huddle meeting this past week Young Tae illustrated the passage.

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I believe the elder John had a “stages of discipleship” grid in mind. He desired movement or growth in the lives of Jesus’ followers that went from being children, to being young men, to being fathers/ parents. As well I believe he dreamed of a church served by men and women who fulfilled the reproductive impulse of the Kingdom of God by becoming disciple-makers. Their knowledge of God, “Him who is from the beginning,” generated interest, love, sacrifice, and intentionality with those who were new and growing in the faith.

With those new in their walk with Jesus its important for us help them know Jesus and His forgiveness, such that their identity as His beloved children is established.  For those who are growing more in their walk Jesus its important for us to help them discover their strength in Christ, to become deeply familiar and engaged with the word of God, and to experience victory over the evil one in their character, land passions.

The Erosion of Discipling Communities

When I study these kinds of texts I’m often haunted by what its like to be a church or a disciple that takes no interest in the disciple-journey of others. God calls it a foolish shepherd. For the last twenty years I have had this text in Zechariah in front of me when it comes to erosion of discipling communities.

14Then I broke my second staff Union, annulling the brotherhood between Judah and Israel.
15Then the Lord said to me, “Take once more the equipment of a foolish shepherd. 16For behold, I am raising up in the land a shepherd who does not care for those being destroyed, or seek the young or heal the maimed or nourish the healthy, but devours the flesh of the fat ones, tearing off even their hoofs.
17 “Woe to my worthless shepherd,
who deserts the flock!
May the sword strike his arm
and his right eye!
Let his arm be wholly withered,
his right eye utterly blinded!”
Zechariah 11:14-17

They lose their intentionality for the heart of the Father. In fact, they lose their way because unity and favour have been broken. Their shepherds become foolish; they do not care for the young, bind up the shattered, seek the lost or feed the healthy. This is a discipling community that has lost its vision. These kinds of communities devour people!

The apostles were intentional, just as Jesus was intentional. They were intentional to not only pour their lives into others. They were intentional to cooperate with the Spirit of Jesus in the building of HIs Church. They knew they needed a healthy discipling community formed around a vision of Jesus, The Disciple Maker.

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