I don’t subscribe to the idea that disciple making is explained in a devotional. I believe it is demonstrated and taught over time. But in order to get the gears turning and the wheels moving in the minds and hearts of believers lets take a snapshot of the Great Commission that Jesus has called us to. In Matthew 28:19 Jesus tells his Disciples to “go and make disciples of all nations…? His desire was to use those twelve men to teach others, who would continue this process, thereby spreading the Gospel message AND His teachings to the world. Jesus had the vision of impacting the world from the beginning and so the first thing we need to remember is to start with the end in mind.
The hope and desire is that as believers begin to grow in Christ they will mature into healthy disciples who desire to make other disciples, who also go on make even more disciples, and so on. Acts 1:8 instructed the early church to begin “in Jerusalem” and then move out to “the ends of the earth.” This movement is done through disciple making and all of us have the opportunity to be a part of the disciple-making process both in our hoods and in others spots around the globe. Think about sharing the gospel with someone. Though a lot of us are excited to share our faith, do we have the end in mind? If we lead someone to Christ are we planning to personally disciple the new believer or point them in the direction where they can be poured into? I remember many times in my early years of being a believer I ran up to everyone I could find and tried to hit them off with the Gospel, not thinking about what I would do if they actually got saved. I did have the privilege of leading some people to Christ and walked away thinking my job was done. I can’t honestly tell you where half of those people are now or how they are doing in their walk of faith. I do know of a couple who are living as very biblically unlearned Christians though. I also know some who are constantly seeking their own glory over God’s, and others who do nothing more but go to church once or twice a week. The problem here is that there was no disciple making process for any of them. I didn’t have the end in mind and they weren’t taught to have that either.
I have learned through the years that by teaching a disciple we should be preparing them to teach others what they learn, not merely trying to make them better Christians or “smarter sinners” as some would say. Paul admonishes Timothy on this idea in 2 Timothy 2:2 where he says, “The things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” If you’ll notice you have Paul teaching Timothy, Timothy is to then disciple faithful men, and those men will be able to teach others. That is having the end in mind! Taking a person and teaching them God’s truth, not simply so they can become better Christians, but so they can take the teachings and pour them into others. So from the beginning we have to have the perspective of reproducing reproducers. From evangelism to conversion we should be thinking through where these new believers will gain the vital knowledge needed to be effective for God’s kingdom.
When my close cousin became a believer I had big plans for him afterward. I wanted him to pick up on how to be an effective Christian. I wanted him to learn how to have a devotional, how to share his faith, and how to disciple other young men. The problem was I didn’t know how I expected him to learn this. Initially i just wanted him to go to my church, hoping he’d pick up all this, but realistically he need someone in his life to teach him these things. Fam, how can anyone obey a commission they have no understanding of and no tools for? Isaiah 9:11 tells us to be FULL of knowledge of the Lord. Because of this lack of knowledge and or discipleship many believers operate out of biblical context, Christian hip-hoppers rhyme without Godly discernment, and the commission Christ gave to make disciples of all nations is played to the left or forgotten all together. Some of us are frustrated with what we see, but many of us don’t participate in the disciple making process. How many of us have young Timothy’s in our lives that can observe us and learn how to follow Christ? How many of us have a type of Paul in our lives for life on life demonstrations on what following Christ looks like? While many of us demonstrate passion and fervor for Christ, biblical and practical knowledge through life on life discipleship is often no where to be found.
Peep out Christ! Jesus knew the most effective way to build His kingdom was to send his disciples out into the world to teach others what He had taught them. Say for instance Peter discipled three men who went on to disciple another 3 men apiece, and then those 9 picked up an additional 3 apiece. We would then have a total of 39 men that Peter has both directly and indirectly affected by being faithful to Christ’s commission. Jesus understood he could reach the world at large by spending quality time developing 12 faithful men who would go forward and teach others. He knew that if this kept on throughout time the number would continue to multiply. Well here we are thousands of years later hopefully following the commission given to the Twelve, “…teaching others to obey all that I have commanded you.” What has to be taught to disciples is the urgency to learn in order to teach others. If this isn’t grasped or demonstrated then number of disciples won’t increase, it will fizzle out. This tends to happen when believers get preoccupied with their own lives and agendas and don’t see the priority of investing into the lives of others. Like I stated earlier this is not something explained in a devotional or a one day bible study, Jesus spent three years not only teaching a group of men, but hanging with them, and allowing them to see His life. If we follow His example then making disciples will be more than simply reading the bible for an hour a week, but actually spending time demonstrating how the Bible changes our lives in everyday situations. We will demonstrate, we will teach, we will engage, we will hang, we will share, we will follow Jesus and let them watch and learn. All the while we will encourage them to teach others what they find to be true according to the bible.
We have to start with the end in mind, we share our faith hoping not to simply lead a person to Christ, but to start another disciple on their way to laboring for God’s Glory. We teach men and women with the hope that they will grow from spending quality time looking at our transparent lives and learning how to dig in the scriptures for truth. We teach with the hope after being discipled that they can be dropped off with a bible anywhere in the world and if we come back years later we’d find they have begun reproducing reproducers. Before Jesus left His disciples he told them to teach others to obey all the things he commanded them, he basically told them, “Okay men I’ve shown you the Way and the Truth now go and reproduce yourselves.” And now here in modern day times we are the products of their labor, and our mission is to continue the work they started. Our agenda is the Kingdom Agenda, which is more than rapping at shows, or writing rhymes with Jesus stamped on them. When we are gone how will we have redeemed the time we spent here? Long after we are gone (if the Lord doesn’t return first) there should be people still going forth, lighting up the world for Christ because we invested our time in making disciples.
About the Author
Lecrae is the first artist on Reach Records as well as the head of A&R for the label. Along with music, Lecrae is also the head of ReachLife Ministries aimed at influencing those impacted by hip hop music and culture. You can find Lecrae getting it in with young believers on a regular basis to “reproduce reproducers”.