In the church we hear a lot about “discipleship”, but for many people the idea of discipleship seems overwhelming. We still have questions like: How do I disciple my kids ? How do I disciple people at work or at school…is that even possible? How should I as a pastor disciple people at church? How do I know if I am doing it right? There are many great resources for one or more of these areas but few resources give us a paradigm for discipleship that can happen in any context, and at any time.
The Four Tasks of Discipleship
Discipleship is a big topic, with libraries full of books devoted to it (and justifiably so). But that said, there are basically four overarching tasks of discipleship. And if you prayerfully ask God to lead you in these four tasks you will make disciples.
Reach Out– Take the initiative to Pursue others.
God loves to pursue others, He’s been doing it now for awhile (Genesis 12:1-4). God reaches out even in the face of rejection (John 1:11). And He does it with the heart of a servant (Philippians 2:5-8). Discipleship making starts when we ask God, “How can I reach out to others? Who should I pursue?”
Bring In– Invite others into your life and God’s family.
In the Old Testament God formed the nation of Israel, and told them I will be your God and you will be My people (Exodus 6:6-8). It was God’s way of saying to Israel “I have made you to be in relationships with Me.” Today through Jesus, God continues to give all people the opportunity to be in relationship with Him by being part of His family (John 1:11-13). Our task then is simply to ask God, “Who do you want me to invite into my life that they might through Jesus, become a part of Yours?”
Walk With – Guide others as they follow Jesus Christ.
God shares His life with us, not just to hang out, but to walk with us that we might become mature in our faith. He teaches us about Himself and His ways (Deuteronomy 6:4-8). He calls us to whole-life of worship of Himself (Mark 12:30). And He prepares us to do what He does (John 14:11-13). As we walk with others our questions to God simply need to be “ How can I be a guide? How can I teach them about Who you are and what You do? How can I lead them to whole-life worship of You? How can I prepare them to do what You do?”
Send Forth – Send disciples into their world (home, school, work, community, and beyond) to pursue, invite, and guide others.
God the Son declared “make disciples all of nations” (Matthew 28:16-20) and then gave us God the Spirit to make it happen (Acts 1:8). We make disciples when we allow ourselves to be sent, and to be senders. We do this when we ask God “Who do You want to send?” and “Where do You want to send them?”
Discipleship may be challenging but it shouldn’t be overwhelming. God wants to use you to make disciples. And He wants you to be able to do it anytime and any place. You don’t to read a library worth of books to do it well (though don’t let me stop you), you simply need to do what God does: Reach Out, Bring In, Walk With, Send Forth. When you prayerfully pursue these four tasks, you will make disciples.