Have you ever asked, “What qualifications do I need to disciple someone?” For much of my early years in WDA’s next generation ministry (which was once called campus ministry), I would have looked at the role of disciple builder as a bible teacher or small group leader. Teaching was one of the first things I recognized as a gift of the young men who were helping me establish my faith in my years as a student. As I have been looking back at my early years, I began to see that my understanding of the role of a disciple builder was limited and seen primarily though my gifting as a shepherd/teacher. The problem was that Jesus calls all who follow him “disciples” and not all of them are called to a teaching role!
Somewhere my view of a mature follower of Christ left out the majority of believers that I love and minister with. Disciple Builders were people who were really serious about their Christian faith and were involved in teaching others. In my world that meant leading a small group. I think Jesus disagrees with me! He is making disciples who have all the gifts and callings in scripture.
The church needs to see Jesus’ pattern for discipleship and grasp the long term vision of Christ in Matthew 28:19-20. We are called to a life of ministry, which involves participating in building mature followers of Jesus.
Many Christians are confused at this point. How can I fulfill Jesus’ command both to share the gospel and to help people grow to maturity, “teaching them all things I have commanded” when I don’t have a gift for teaching?
Why not start where Jesus did? The first thing he did was call some young men to follow Him. He began by building community! Why don’t you build a friendship and begin to read the bible together and talk about it. What you learn from others, explain to another person. If you can’t explain something, find another person who can help you. This doesn’t mean you pursue the role of a teacher, you are instead a fellow Christian who loves to share the things God is teaching you.
Every mature believer must understand how to participate in the growth of others! Certainly some are called to a particular task of teaching while others may be called to serve. In your loving of others you are teaching them! Being like Jesus speaks loudly in a culture that is skeptical of those who say one thing and do another.
I have realized that many people who have taught me spiritual principles were mature people who were following Christ and living their faith before me! So when someone loved me well by serving me, I learned to be like Jesus! Discipleship happens while we spend time together!
A church that is made up of mature Christians who have taken time to grow in Christ-likeness will have an impact on future generations. Sure, some are called to use teaching gifts and some will lead in many other ways. All are called to grow to maturity and be part of the mission of Christ!
How do you influence and participate in the discipling of others? What ways do we teach others?
Jesus also had a particular vision for disciple building. WDA has spent years looking at his life and ministry with a view toward providing the church with the foundational principles necessary to see Christian men and women grow to maturity. Learn more about WDA’s Biblical Approach to Disciple Building.