I challenge you to read this article. It is important to realize that many are realizing the need to start working on discipleship. Read this and see if you see something that applies to you. Comment on the article.
In an article called “Joining the Discipleship Revolution” by Robbie Butler in Missions Frontiers, January- February 2011, he states: “Jesus did not simply use the twelve as assistance to service ever-increasing crowds. Mark 3:14-15 tells us that he chose them that they might be with Him, that He might send them forth to preach.
“And he ordained twelve, that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach, And to have power to heal sicknesses, and to cast out devils”
Neither did Jesus focus solely on bringing the twelve to maturity, giving them deeper understanding, or teaching them to love Him and one another. From the outset, they understood that they were also in training to carry out the mission. “I will make you fishers of men.”
“And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”
What I find fascinating is that Jesus didn’t just pick out individuals and disciple them in isolation from one another; He started with four friends, two sets of brothers, and built a community to practice and prove His teaching.
At the USCWM, even after marrying and developing the children, I naively lived a self-induced, sleep-deprived, scramble taking advantage of every opportunity to learn and serve. I remember misquoting Luke 10:2 “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few.” So we have to work extra hard to make up for what others aren’t doing, that they should be doing.
My first interest in alternate ministry models came when Dr. Gwener described the USCWM as a hit and run ministry typified by my long-standing practice. Meet someone; fill their available time with every insight and resource I thought could benefit them, and then part without expecting further contact. This ministry model isn’t bad, but it is very different from Jesus’ use of passing ministry opportunities in His focus on developing the twelve fishers of men.
His comment provoked me to wonder, “Is there a more fruitful way to minister than giving all I can to as many as possible?” Jim Downy of the Navigators taught me that information transfer alone is inadequate. Guided experience is also necessary to impart the skills and motivation for disciples to reproduce.
One common weakness of discipling models is a content only approach, bringing someone through a curriculum which they are then to bring others through. Whatever this gains in apparent efficiency, it loses far more in adaptability in the spiritual leading to the needs of each of those involved, and in modeling and coaching through unexpected developments.
Doctrinal correctness will not ensure a person’s fruitfulness. However, as we coach people to become disciples they will grow in hungering for and abiding in God’s Word, hearing and obeying God’s voice, living to please Him rather than others, trusting His provision and empowering, embracing His purpose and His body.
We don’t learn to drive by hearing a lecture or reading a book, but by getting behind the wheel. With coaching from another, we get better. Coaching doesn’t require knowing everything in advance, just a willingness to learn together. As we coach others who are discipling and then coaching others, both peers and disciples, we and they both are new dimensions of things we may have previously assented to without really understanding.
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