We cannot depend upon widespread methods hoping to address the specific needs of everyone. Particular people require distinctive discipleship.
(This breakout session was taught at the Impact Conference at Shandon Baptist on February 17, 2022. Notes are available below and the audio recording will be posted later.)
We all have the same destination but require different directions.
- The Great Commission calls us to make disciples – not converts.
- Salvation is the starting line – not the finishing line.
- If there is a true profession of faith, there should be a true progression of faith.
- Much of our ministry methods employ widespread approaches with template processes.
Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus (Acts 4:13).
Do you think Jesus was specific in the work He did with each disciple?
- Pre-Discipleship – Matt. 16:21-23; 26:73-74; John 18:10
- Post-Discipleship – Acts 5:29; 1 Pet. 2:21
- Discovery: Peter’s initial pushback with Jesus seemingly always originated when suffering was involved, yet, after his time with Jesus, suffering boldly is his thematic emphasis in his teaching and ministry.
- Pre-Discipleship – Mark 3:17; 9:38; Luke 9:54
- Post-Discipleship – John 19:27; 1 John 4:8
- Discovery: John’s character originally was rough and uncompassionate toward those he saw as unfit or unwelcomed, but his major emphasis later was that of sincere love for others (and good thing, since Jesus asked him to take care of His mom).
- We have numerous programs, but what we need is a customizable process.
- What if you could use God’s Word to create an individualized discipleship plan for every church member?
- Within Colossians 1, we find six categories of which Paul addressed with these disciples.
To them, God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works in me (Col. 1:27-29).
- Delight – What do you need to focus on less so that you can delight in more of Jesus?
- Disobedience – What besetting sin must be addressed before it unravels you?
- Doctrine – What doctrinal issue do you need to study in order to embrace personally or share confidently?
- Development – What do I need to mature in considering my relationships and responsibilities?
- Discipline – What single spiritual discipline should I focus on to see significant progress?
- Dependence – What am I praying for God to do of which only He could get the credit?
Narrow down the possibilities and make your plan by answering those six questions. Spend the next few months attempting to make progress in those specific areas. Using this plan will be good for an individual, better with a partner, but best with a mentor. Once you end the focused time period, reevaluate your spiritual condition with a new list and get going again with new emphases. Use this plan for yourself or someone you are discipling to focus your efforts.
More Discipleship Resources
Psalm 119:97-112 – Just because someone is seasoned does not mean they are scriptural. We need personal commitment and committed disciple-makers to follow God’s ways for the long haul.
When I was younger, I thought that this photo on my grandmother’s wall was a photo of my deceased grandfather. I later found out that he was a symbol of what so many were longing to see: an older, faithful disciple of Jesus finishing strong.
When someone receives the gospel, that individual starts the journey of discipleship. We often classify such new believers as spiritual infants. But what happens if those young in their faith never grow past their initial faith commitment?
We can only fully mature in Christ by acknowledging the work that still needs to be done. As we observe the rough edges of our spiritual conditions, we can work with Christ’s power to see progress in the most critical areas of our lives.
In the midst of many opportunities for spiritual growth, we can lack a needed sense of alignment. What if we are guilty of widespread efforts that only provide shallow understanding? Focus might be the component we’ve been missing.
Jesus wanted disciples – not converts. He discipled men who would continue to grow, not just men who would maintain an undeveloped faith.