This is an ongoing work in progress. While I am writing these articles on discipleship, I am actually doing these same things with other men on a regular basis. Spiritual reproduction is my goal with them. I want them to be able to teach these things to another man that God gives to them. That is the principle of disciplemaking in 2 Timothy 2:2. "And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses, entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others."
Visualize if you would that you are sitting across from me in a restaurant, and we are having an exciting conversation about making disciples.
I would suggest getting a three ring binder notebook for your new disciple, print all these pages as you work with your disciple, so that they may reproduce this in the life of another.
A word that is very familiar to most of us. Let's explore what the word really means, and how we can analyze if discipleship is indeed our own personal lifestyle.
Can you measure and see if you are a disciple of Jesus?
Can someone else look at you and tell if you are a disciple?
When you wake up first thing in the morning, what is the first thing that you think about?
During the day, pull out your schedule and look at it. Does it reflect that you are spending part of your time investing in the lives of other believers?
You cannot fake this. You either are. Or aren't. Dawson Trotman, the founder of the Navigator organization, asks in his famous sermon, "Born to Reproduce", "Where's your man? Where's your woman? Where is the person you are spending time with helping to grow into a reproducing disciple."
A disciple is a learner. Someone who has a desire to learn and who does the knocking on your door, not you knocking on his door. At some time during the process, your new disciple will start calling you, rather than you calling them. We are looking for people like that. Jesus did not have to drag the twelve around with him, but they left their livelihoods and followed Him.
Burning deep in my heart is this question to you my friend. Are you doing the bidding of the Master as His last command to us was to go and make disciples in every nation?
Dawson has been with the Lord since 1956, but I still listen to his tape "Born to Reproduce" at least once a month. I have done this for years. I think that might be one reason I still have a heart for making disciples.
It is the most exciting thing in my life. Seeing another man get the vision, and seeing him learn how to walk with the Savior, and seeing him grow bold in his faith, and lead others to Christ cannot compare with anything I have ever done in the business world.
There are only two things that are going to last forever my friend.
The Word of God! And People!
If you expend your life and resources in anything else, it will burn up. The Bible is very clear about that.
1 Corinthians 3:11-15 "For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is.
If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire."
Satan does not want you to do what I am talking about in these lessons. He will double and triple his efforts to keep you busy on other things. They will usually be very good things. Church things, helping little old lady things, helping around the house things, all things that we need to be doing, and things which consume much of our time. But as Dawson talks about on his tape, busyness is one of the stumbling blocks for disciplemaking.
John 15 talks about fruit bearing. You know my friend, an apple tree produces apples, and a cherry tree produces cherries, and a Christian should produce Christians. Many times folks have commented to me that discipleship seems to be my "hot button". Well they are right. Last time I checked in at John chapters 14-17, that was Jesus' "hot button" also. His aim in those last words which all took place days before his death, were steeped in his heart's desire that the twelve would reach the world. You cannot read those chapters without getting that picture.
I wish this was everyone's hot button. My personal belief is that every believer is called to become a disciplemaker. Yes, many of us are gifted in many other ways and use our gifts for kingdom work, but I believe our main focus should be on spiritual reproduction with at least one other person at a time.
In 1960 I was introduced to this concept. My mentors were many as I moved around the world in the U. S. Air Force for the first 11 years of my walk with the Lord. But the men who helped me are still my friends. And the men that I helped are still walking with God. Through the opportunity of the Internet and Email, and cheap long distance, I still have contact with over fifty of these men.
One young man in his twenties took up the challenge to memorize the Topical Memory System. I told him I would give him one hundred dollars. Today he is the pastor of one of the larger churches in our town. He told me recently that he was teaching his new converts how to memorize. Several other men are pastors and leaders in their churches and are still discipling men. Each week I am challenged and encouraged by my friendship with these men.
When I had a stroke the day before 9-11, 2011, several of these men rushed to the hospital and prayed for me. My young pastor in his early thirties was one of the first men there by my side. Other buddies came by and prayed with me and for me. God answered those prayers, and I walked out of the hospital three days later completely healed.
Yes my friend, I made the right decision many years ago to invest my life with people. In the business world, I achieved some measure of success, but that does not even compare to what has happened between me and these men.
Some of them were my mentors, and I mentored some, and others walked side by side with the Lord. Being around younger excited believers can revitalize your life. John the apostle said, " I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth." 3 John 4
And so my friend, let me teach you how to make disciples! Remember to keep your eyes on Jesus, and not on me. I stumble and I fall. But perhaps we will be able to encourage each other for the rest of our lives. As I write these articles, imagine that we are sitting down in a restaurant and sharing our lives.
A word of encouragement to your mentor should be a timely thing in your life. The enemy will be beating them up on a regular basis trying to knock them out of the game. A thank you from you will keep them going. Remember no matter how long a person walks with God and no matter how much Bible knowledge they have, they still need that word of encouragement from you.
Then the ultimate! Ask God to give you another person and multiply yourself to the third and fourth generation and beyond.