“Keep the first things first.” I have no idea who coined this phrase, but it is a good rule of thumb in disciple making.
Let’s begin by seeing how Jesus began His disciple making process:
In Luke 6:12-13 we get a big glimpse into the beginning of Jesus’ disciple making process. THIS is the epitome of keeping the first things first!
One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God. When morning came, he called his disciples to him and chose twelve of them, whom he also designated apostles:
Prayer is the first of the first things.
Please note in the verses above that Jesus had many disciples. Disciples are followers. Apostles were those sent out as messengers with delegated authority. Keep in mind that the goal of all disciple making efforts is that we produce disciple-making disciples.
Jesus prayed all night long for the twelve disciples/apostles. I don’t know about you, but I have never spent an entire night in prayer for anything. I have however, prayed for those whom He would choose for me to disciple. Most of the time I didn’t have a particular person in mind. It was interesting to begin praying for that someone, or someones, without any prior knowledge of who they would be.
I have performed this process many times in my adult life and I know the seriousness involved in praying for those whom you will disciple. These would-be disciples are not unknown to our Father, but they may be to us. There is a divine sense of anticipation when a disciple maker prays for that someone, or someones, they will be discipling. I know as I pray for whomever He pleases that my life will be impacted as much, if not more, than those I would be discipling. I knew I would be making disciples, but more than this, I knew I would be exquisitely gifted with forever friends and fellow soldiers in Christ’s army. We will spend a minimum of eighteen months together, if not longer. We wouldn’t just meet for discipleship training, we would socialize together, fellowship together, worship together, etc. Disciple Making is wrapping our life around the lives of those we disciple, not merely one time per week, but truly knowing one another and doing life together.
So PRAY and ask the Lord to bring someone, or a couple of someones, into your path and invite them to join you in discipleship training. The journey you embark on together will be the best thing you will ever do for yourself, your disciples, and for His kingdom.
A few qualifications for screening discipleship candidates:
- Do they have a hunger and thirst for His righteousness?
- Do they understand the commitment they are making? Time: study time, memorizing scripture, Bible reading, etc.
- Are they willing to make the commitment?
While this list may seem limited, they are the starting point. Lay out the time commitment up front. We live in a very hurried culture, so make certain they understand that discipleship training will be their highest priority for the next – however long you determine. If you use discipleship curriculum, you will know how long the commitment will be.
Happy disciple making, brothers and sisters! May He richly bless the desire of your heart to make disciples for His kingdom.