Why I Don't Disciple People

This is the first challenge in The Disciplemaking Challenge. I am excited to kick this thing off. I hope you are too. This week we’re going to talk about why I don’t disciple people. Jesus never commanded us to disciple people. But He did say to go and make disciples, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit (See Matthew 28).

Making disciples of Jesus, and discipling people are two different things. Think of an influential leader you know. Are they a disciple maker or do they disciple people? If you aren’t sure, here are some questions to get you thinking:

Does this person influence people to connect with Jesus or him/her?

If this person mentors others, do the mentees look like him/her or are their differences celebrated and even encouraged?

Does this person still exert influence when those they are influencing disagree with him/her?

Does this person lead from a place of being led?

Do others leave their presence wowed by Jesus or wowed by that leader?

The answers to these questions might help you see the difference between discipling someone and making a disciple. Discipling someone results in followers of that leader. Making a disciple results in followers of Jesus.

The good news here is that making disciples is much easier than discipling someone! To disciple someone you probably will need a method, and some training, but you won’t need the Holy Spirit. To make disciples of Jesus all you need is a willing heart and the Holy Spirit.

Jesus told His followers that IF they are abiding in Him they WILL bear fruit (John 15). 2 Peter 1:3 promises us that we have “EVERYTHING WE NEED for a Godly life.” Later on in John 15 Jesus reminded this followers that bearing fruit was not their idea. It was His idea first. He chose them to go and bear fruit. Not the other way around!

But before Jesus’ followers went out to bear fruit, they waited for the Holy Spirit. Notice it was not only those “trained by Jesus.” There were 120 people in the upper room when the Holy Spirit was given!

Hear me out here. I am not against having training, applying methods, etc… However, I am against the lie that we NEED those things in order to have an impact for Jesus.

All we need is a willing heart that will say yes to the Holy Spirit. When we make disciples, it involves allowing the Holy Spirit to make an opportunity. There is no question on whether God is willing to make an opportunity. The question is on our end. Remember Jesus said, look at the fields. The harvest is plentiful but the laborers are few (see Matthew 9).

Here’s the challenge for the week:

Every day this week, take 2 minutes in the morning to ask the Holy Spirit to show you an opportunity to influence someone for Jesus. Ask with a willingness for whatever the task is, and keep an open eye for whatever it might be.

For those who need examples of how this can look here are some examples from my life recently of things I felt the Holy Spirit nudging me to do:

  • Shared a scripture I read that morning with someone

  • Encouraged my wife with a positive quality I saw in her

  • Paid for someone’s gas

  • Asked a family member where they are at with God

As I have given you a challenge for this week, here is mine: Every name that I see opens this email I will pray for by name, that God will provide an opportunity for them to help someone look more like Jesus.

Yours for the journey,