The Bible states that we are to go into all the world and make disciples (Matthew 28:19). This is the Great Commission or the mandate and marching orders for the Church of Jesus Christ. The Church that Jesus is building will take seriously this call to make disciples and will have disciple making as part of every activity and every event that the local assembly holds. Making disciples is our “raison d’être” and something we obey because we love Jesus. Remember, He said, “If you love Me, you will obey Me.” and He is the One who said “go and make disciples.”
Behind me on the shelves in my study are numerous books on discipling. My library now has three dozen or more books on the topic of discipling. Some are good – some are just taking up space and are reminders that not everyone who writes a book really has something to say or something to add to the on-going discussion. I have read every one of those many books. Here is what I have learned…
People are unique creations of God, made in His image but now marred by sin. They cannot be mass-produced like automobiles or smart-phones. Every experienced parent knows this. What works perfectly with one child in the “training and instruction of The Lord” unleashes the devil in the next. It takes very different “models” of child rearing to successfully fulfill the God-given mission of parenting. The same is true with the God-given mission of “making disciples.” One size does not fit all.
Have you noticed in your reading of the New Testament that Jesus did not give us a formula showing us how to successfully disciple each and every person we lead to The Lord? He did not set out a given format that will work with everyone. But, He did reveal the right principles and patterns for discipleship. After all, He did disciple the twelve who became apostles and many others during His three years of public ministry.
There are three vital areas that we see Jesus addressing over-and-over again in the pages of the Gospel. He dealt with issues of the heart, the head and the hand.
The heart because the condition of a person’s heart determines the condition of their life. Proverbs 4:23 states, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”
The head because the way people think determines how they see, what they want, and how they respond. Proverbs 23:7 indicates that as a person thinks, so they become.
The hands because what people do and don’t do significantly influences their spiritual journey. Jesus said, “Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.” (John 13:17)
This week – in the remaining four blogs for the week – I will be looking at these three elements that need to be engaged when we go out to intentionally make disciples.