There is a lot to understand about discipleship and making disciples. Today there is the organic vs. the programmatic approach. Examples are a plenty: Alpha, DMM, 3DM, etc. Relationship without intentionality leads to – well problems!
I remember when I was in seminary. With the pressures of doing life and studying, idealistic thoughts of how ministry should be and romantic thoughts of serving in adventurous regions of the world – I pondered: “What could possibly grab my attention and become my life-long mandate?”
One of the reasons I attended the seminary I did was because both of the pastors I grew-up under highly recommended it because the founder, Bill Bright, envisioned an institution that would integrate theology with ministry. As a result, I served in a church as an intern and within the first 3 months voluntarily signed-up to be part of a church planting team. The lag time between the classroom and ministry was compressed. I intentionally focused on things that I could apply or at least, thought I might be able to apply in the church plant where I was establishing a small group ministry.
Back to the question at hand. I remember sitting in the lounge on campus and reflecting on this notion:
“If I could spend my life doing one thing, what would that one thing be?
Making disciples was what we are all charged to do as followers of Jesus.
This would be a worthwhile cause to give my life to.”
Since then I have been practicing, learning, reading observing – you name it – I’ve become somewhat of a nerd!
Lately, I have shifted my focus slightly, asking a related but different question: “What essential support, resources or training does a disciple need to make disciples, that make disciples?”
Back in the fall of 2020 I began a conversation with one of my friends who was asking the same question. We have been working at refining the list. Simultaneously, I’ve informally asked people what they really need. I’ve blogged about some of those ideas. Now I am refining the list. Here is an example of what we have come up with in the informal study I have been conducting. If you would comment or expand on this first idea I would love to read your thoughts. Over the course of the next couple of blogs I will unpack each of the “habits” and then suggest an experiment that you might find helpful with disciples you are making.
Let me begin with the idea of Active Prayer. We identified two areas of focus that a disciple could benefit from in his/her prayer life.
- Prayer for self
- Prayer for people God has placed in their life to coach on their spiritual journey
To test this first habit – ask the question: Could a disciple, make disciples without Active Prayer? If the answer is a resounding “Yes” or “maybe”; then we will need to reconsider. We agree that Active Prayer is a habit Jesus embedded in the DNA of His disciples; therefore, we need to take a deeper look.
What are your thoughts?