Disciple Makers must always have a plan for discipleship.
The goal is to produce disciple-making disciples and one does not get there if there isn’t a well-defined plan to get them there.
There are a plethora of discipleship curriculum out there and it is my strong belief that curriculum is essential to any disciple making endeavor.
Four Motives for Purposeful Disciple Making
Set the Course
It is imperative that you set the course for your budding disciple. There is an end goal to be achieved which is a rooted and established disciple.
Ephesians 3:16-19 (NIV)
I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
The only method of getting a disciple rooted and established is through a carefully planned course. With the multitude of discipleship courses available, why reinvent the wheel?
Choosing a curriculum will require careful consideration. Don’t just read the book cover, examine the content of each lesson. Go through it yourself, if need be, so you have full knowledge of its content and depth.
When I entered into disciple making, I used the curriculum that I was discipled with which was the Design for Discipleship curriculum from The Navigators. I have also been through The Navigators’ 2:7 Series which is also excellent. You may have been discipled with curriculum you are familiar with and want to do the same for someone else.
Make certain the curriculum offers a systematic progression to maturity.
When curriculum is used, there is a beginning and an end. Instead of an “end,” let us consider it their launch. Your disciple will be ready to enter into disciple making as a result of their training.
Keep this in mind as you disciple others — the goal is to launch them into disciple making.
The highest motivation of all disciple makers is love. We were loved into the kingdom by someone. We were discipled by someone who loved us enough to develop us into Christ-loving disciples. We were loved enough to be taught the disciplines of the faith that persist in us to this day.
Even if you were not discipled with a formal discipleship process, you can begin by learning along with that new believer God has called you to disciple.
Learning the habits of growth takes time and commitment. This is not an un-disciplined road.
We all live busy lives filled with commitments. One of the first priorities of discipleship is rearranging those commitments in order to dedicate ourselves to a new lifestyle.
Simon and Andrew dropped their nets and walked a completely different life path when Jesus called them. The same is true of all disciples throughout.
Matthew 4:18-20 (KJV)
And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. And they straightway left their nets, and followed him.
New habits will be formed and developed in a purposeful progression when using a formal discipleship process.
“The chains of habit are generally too small to be felt until they are too strong to be broken.” – Samuel Johnson
Selecting a disciplined discipleship path offers benefits beyond measure.
There is preparation that must be completed before each meeting. A superb curriculum will promote daily assignments in order to instill new habits. To whom much is given, much is required.
Homework – or dedicated preparation – signifies sacrifice.
Since both you and those you disciple have committed to preparing yourselves before each meeting, you will come together with your own personal insights and questions. The Lord will have had your full attention for a specific amount of time each week and He will have had the opportunity to convey His thoughts to you.
A simple, “Speak, Lord. Your servant is listening.” prayer before beginning each daily assignment will reap a harvest of insight and transformation. His Word is living and active and sharper than a double-edged sword (Hebrews 4:12), therefore, He is speaking to us when we spend time in His Word.
There is built-in accountability when a purposeful discipleship curriculum is utilized. You and those you disciple will have completed your homework because you do not want to disappoint one another.
As mentioned in the previous section, the time invested in preparation reaps a harvest of spiritual dividends.
There is a measured progress of maturing going on in both you and those you disciple as you make your way through a formal discipleship curriculum.
Obedience to His commands is a sure sign of spiritual progress.
Obedience isn’t a concept our culture lifts high these days, but it is a key theme throughout all scripture. Watch for signs of obedience to His Word as you progress.
As a disciple maker, you would do well to call attention to the growth you witness along the journey. It is a source of encouragement to the one being discipled. You must also mention signs of your own growth as you learn together; it will encourage them that our maturing in Christ never ceases.
If you use the same curriculum over and over again as you invest in the lives of others, you will be able to add more and more insight with each passage through the same curriculum. You will never grow weary of the same curriculum because we never arrive at maturity.
The following video from Francis Chan offers a compelling argument for ordinary Christians who are prepared and able to teach others how to grow in their faith. Christians cannot lie back and assume disciple making is for the ordained ministry staff. Disciple making is for the ordinary, everyday Christian. Equipping the saints for the work of ministry (Eph. 4:12-16) was never designed to be the role of the clergy alone. We are all charged with the task of disciple making. Do not shirk your duty!