Discipling… How do we do It?

At Wells Branch Community Church, one of our core values is “Reproducing Disciples”. We want to make disciples who make disciples. That sounds pretty awesome and I think everyone is on board with that, but the question of, “How do we do that?” can be hard to answer sometimes. Hopefully this post will help bring some clarity to that! If we think of discipleship as our own life of following Jesus, then discipling is helping others follow Jesus in their lives, beginning with baptism and on into obedience in every area of life. Here is a formal definition we can use, based on Jesus example in the Gospels:

Discipling is initiating a relationship where you help someone follow Jesus through teaching, correcting, modeling, and serving.

ALL DISCIPLES MAKE DISCIPLES

The elders/pastors of the church disciple members of the church through preaching and teaching God’s word and living as examples to the flock (1 Pet 5:3). They disciple members so that those members can disciple others though; church leaders ”equip the saints for the work of ministry” (Eph 4:12). All members of the church are called to disciple others and help fulfill the Great Commission (Matt 28:18-20). All of us must be discipled by others and be discipling others too:

We need others who are more mature in the faith discipling us, and we need to be discipling others who are younger in the faith than us.

DISCIPLING TAKES INITIATIVE

In a healthy church there will be a culture of mentorship and discipleship that happens organically among members of the church. Even so, we ought to be intentional about deliberately discipling others as part of our own discipleship with Christ. Discipling can take place in 1-on-1 relationships, or in small groups of 3-4 people. Either way, someone needs to take the lead and initiate the relationship. Be intentional to cultivate a relationship where teaching, correcting, modeling, and serving can take place. This involves spending time together in both formal and informal settings:

Take the lead in setting a time, place, and plan for regular, scheduled meetings as well as scheduling time to rest and relax together, or catch up as friends.

Have formal, regular meetings where you are

  • Read and discuss books of the Bible (and books about the Bible), and teach God’s word
  • Talk about your Community Group, and the sermon from Sunday
  • Ask questions about one another’s intimacy with Christ and obedience to his word
  • Confess sins and struggles, and encourage and correct one another in the gospel
  • Pray together for one another, and for others in your life who don’t know Jesus

Have informal, more organic meetings where you are

  • Hang out with each others families and neighbors
  • Share a meal together in your home or at a favorite restaurant
  • Go on a road trip or a mission trip together
  • Go share the gospel with someone together

GO MAKE DISCIPLES

Discipling is a way of intentionally living with others for their spiritual good, to help them follow Jesus. It’s essential that you invite people into your life in both formal and informal ways as you disciple. “So much of discipling is doing what you ordinarily do but bringing people along with you and having meaningful conversations, like Jesus did.”1 Jesus taught the Bible to his disciples, and he had meals with them. He did ministry with them and he also washed their feet and prayed for them. Love and serve the people you are discipling, modeling Christ-likeness as you live your life, and as you teach and correct them according to God’s word.

So, who do you know that you could help follow Jesus? Take the initiative to meet with that person, invest in them, and help them follow Jesus through teaching, correcting, modeling, and serving.


1 This quote is from Discipling by Mark Dever; a book which inspired much of the content in this resource. You can purchase it here.

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