Jason said to me, “Disciplemaking Teachers out to be required.”

I had just conducted the Disciplemaking Teachers seminar at his church. I had done the Double Your Class Seminar in their church sometime back. They had seen some results. I sensed two frustrations:

  1. Many teachers were slow to get on board. They didn’t want to double.
  2. Where we did attract new people, Jason wasn’t sure we were making disciples of them all that well.

I think Jason’s point is well taken. I do about 100 conferences a year. About 90 of them are on You Can Double Your Class in Two Years or Less. I love that seminar. But, the more I present it, the more I have the nagging feeling that figuring out how to double is not our problem. The problem is, we don’t want to. Why? We have not made meat-eating, fired up, sold-out disciples. We need Disciplemaking Teachers.

I so resonate with this quote from Robert Coleman’s Master Plan of Discipleship.

It all started with Jesus calling a few men to follow him. This revealed immediately the direction his evangelistic strategy would take. His concern was not with programs to reach the multitudes, but with men whom the multitudes would follow. Remarkable as it may seem, Jesus started to gather these men before he ever organized an evangelistic campaign or even preached a sermon in public. Men were to be his method of winning the world to God.  (page 21)

This is why, we must say with E.M. Bounds that men are God’s method. Until we have such people imbued with his Spirit and committed to his plan, none of our methods will work. (page 97)

This is the new evangelism we need. It is not better methods but better men and women who know their redeemer from personal experience–men and women who see his vision and feel his passion for the world–men and women who are willing to be nothing so he might be everything–men and women who want only for Christ to produce his life in and through them according to his good pleasure. This finally is the way the Master planned for his objective to be realized on the earth, and where it is carried through by his strategy, the gates of hell cannot prevail against the evangelization of the world. (page 97)

I am in about 100 churches a year. I see a church frantic to find a new method–maybe it is FAITH or GROW or Giving Friday nights to Jesus, or seeker services or home groups. In most cases, the problem is not finding a better method. We desperately need to learn to make better men–disciples who are sold out to the cause of making disciples of all nations. We need Disciplemaking Teachers

How to make disciples

Step #1: define

Making disciples starts with a thorough understanding of what a disciple is. Here is my nine-point outline, spelling out the word, “DISCIPLES.”

Disciplined in daily life. We want to create people who start their day with the Bible on their laps.

Intimate friendships. We want a close relationship with God, and we want a close relationship with people too. The bible teaches that we grow as we are joined and knitted together. You can’t grow in isolation. It doesn’t say we grow as we attend the same meetings. Joined and knitted together implies a close, personal, open, honest relationship.

Self-esteem. We want to see ourselves as God sees us–loved, holy, called, servants, runners, and so on.

Corporate worship. The key word is actually worship. We want to create people who love the Lord their God with all their heart, soul, mind and strength, and communicate that love in worship. Worship is what John MacArthur called The Ultimate Priority.

Intimate family life. The first arena in which we express our discipleshipship is in the family. Family is not a distraction from ministry; it is the first arena of ministry.

Passion for God. We want to create people who not only believe right and behave right, but also feel right. We want them to feel a deep and growing passion for God.

Lay ministry. We want people to know their spiritual gifts and be ministering according to their giftedness.

Evangelistic heart. We can’t all be Billy Graham, but we can all care deeply about evangelism and be willing to do what we can toward the goal of making disciples of all nations.

Sacrificial giving. We want to create generous people — joyful givers.

The teacher must keep these qualities firmly in mind and say to themselves regularly, “This is the kind of person I am trying to create.” We are not out to cover the material. We are not out to make smarter sinners. We are out to make disciples as defined above.

Teacher, think about each member of your group relative to the list above. Do we have some work to do?

Step #2: describe the benefits; discuss the costs

Eventually, we do what we want to do.

In the long run, we do what we believe to be in our best interest.

It is always, always, always, in our best interest to live the Christian life, over the long run.

We must come to love the Christian life, or we will never come to live the Christian life.

Prayer becomes for us, as the old hymn writer said it, a “sweet hour of prayer” or we are not praying very will. You come to love prayer, or we don’t pray all that well.

We come to love putting others first because we see the benefit to us of putting others first, or we don’t put others first.

We come to love spending time in the Word and it really does become for us, as the Word says, “sweeter than honey; more precious that gold” or we are not spending time in the Word.

We must want to be generous because we like generous people and we see the benefit and we want to be one, or we are stingy. We are joyful givers or we are likely stingy.

Self-discipline is over-rated in much of Christian teaching. Not to say there is not a place for self-discipline. But, you can’t live your whole life on it. If you live your whole life trying to get yourself to do things that you basically don’t want to do because you don’t think they benefit you, you will struggle your whole life.

We must come to love the Christian life, or we will never come to live the Christian life.

God is a rewarder. He rewards. If we earnestly seek Him, we will be rewarded–richly rewarded. You can’t come to Him except you believe that.

The Kingdom life is like a treasure–a deeply valuable treasure. When we understand that, we gladly give up everything to get that life.

Jesus offered us a life full of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control. Who doesn’t want that life? The offer of the gospel is a life that is getting a little more loving, a little more joyful, a life where we smile more and laugh more and worry less and fear less and are grumpy less. Does anyone want that life?

If you would make disciples, you must convince them of these truths. I just completed a survey of 1020 people on what creates spiritual vibrancy. The #1 issue is whether or not we strongly agree with this statement, “It is always in my best interest to live the Christian life.” People who strongly agreed with this statement were two and a half times more likely to report high levels of spiritual vibrancy compared with those who only agreed with that statement. I will do that seminar for the first time this week.

Here are two questions you can ask every week, applied to different topics:

·         What are the benefits. . . (of having a quiet time, or serving, or giving)?

·         What does it cost me if I don’t?

When your students come to understand that God is a rewarder and it is in their best interest to live the Christian life, they will embrace Christ’s life wholeheartedly. But, as long as they believe this is something they should do, ought to do, God wants them to do, but it is not good for them, they will struggle.