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Friday, July 16, 2010

The Process of the Disciple-Maker

Jesus told us to make disciples but hardly anyone knows how to do so. Maybe that's why so many people think that discipleship is a course taken rather than the following of a master.

Many of us have a hard time being called a master. We know that we are flawed and hope that no one follows our complete example. We are afraid to tell people to do what we do. It makes us extremely responsible to that person. We don't like watching our own actions so scrupulously so that they will be examples to those whom we disciple. We would rather teach a course than to make disciples.

But how will people have an example of a disciple if they don't have someone to observe? Shouldn't that mean that all people who seek to fulfill Jesus' command to make disciples are to be examples that others will follow?

We are so often found saying, "Don't look at me! Look at Jesus!" Yes, this is proper in one sense but was that what Paul wrote to his disciples? Didn't he say that they should do as he did?

Paul also admitted that he had the same clay feet which plague all Christians. His disciples followed an example of humility as Paul told them this. It was important that they know that Paul was not hiding his flaws. It was just as important for him to say that they should do as he did. They needed to see someone who was doing the work of the disciple.

Being perfect is not the example a master should set for his disciples. Jesus said that the master should teach the disciples to observe all that He commanded. This observance will often mean that the master will confess his or her own failures to those being led. This example will eliminate the immature Christians who look down on others while hiding their own faults. This example will put observing what Jesus commanded above merely knowing what Jesus commanded.

A master must teach and the disciple must learn. The master must act and the disciple must see. The process of discipleship is one of learning, receiving, hearing and seeing. It is held in both the classroom and the field. It results in changed lives because it is led and practiced by lives that have been changed so that lives can be changed.

And, yes, God will be with you through the whole process.

Philippians 4:9 (NIV)
9  Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me--put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

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