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A Deeper Look At Jesus’ Disciple-Making Process

A Deeper Look At Jesus’ Disciple-Making Process

The church exists to make disciples, following the four-step process that Jesus taught them. Before we dive into the details of how Jesus put this process to work, here are a few observations about the process itself. 
 

The process is linear.

People move from one stage to the next as they develop. This is the natural way things grow. When you look at a stalk of wheat, it grows in a predictable pattern. First the seed, then the root, then the stalk, and finally the head. Jesus understood this process of natural growth (Mark 4.28-29)
 
When you look at people, they grow physically in predictable patterns as well. When our girls were born, it all started with a sonogram. Even in the womb the doctors were measuring every part of their growth and development. My wife even had a book that described with pictures how the baby was developing at every week in the pregnancy. 
 
After each birth we would take them to the pediatrician for regular check ups, and again they would rank their growth percentiles. I’m so competitive, I celebrated when they were in the 100% category! 
 
Every person is different, but every person grows physically in the same way. The same is true spiritually. Every person is different, but every person grows in Christ-likeness the same way, passing through the same stages of spiritual maturity. 
 

The process is a supernatural work of God

I can’t force people to grow spiritually any more than I can force someone to grow physically. The Apostle Paul, talking about spiritual growth said, “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth” (I Corinthians 3.6). 
 
Two times he stated that it was God who caused the growth. We can plant seeds of faith, but only God can turn a heart toward him. We can reach out in love, but only God can build a community. We can invest in a person’s life, but only the Spirit can take that investment and bring transformation. We can challenge, model, resource, and ask people to multiply, but only God can burden their hearts to go make disciples. 
 
To the Colossians, Paul wrote, “He is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ. To this end I strenuously contend with all the energy Christ so powerfully works in me” (Colossians 1.28-29). Paul did his part of admonishing and teaching. It was strenuous work. But at the end of the day, he did it all through the power and energy of the Spirit of Christ working through him. 
 
Ultimately it is all God’s doing, making people into new creations (Philippians 2.13; 2 Corinthians 5.17) and we are completely dependent on Him to move and work in the hearts of people. In fact, it’s up to us to sense where God is working and join him, just as Jesus did. In John 5.17 Jesus said, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working.” 
 

Pastors and leaders of the church to keep the process in the forefront of the church. 

If Jesus commanded that we make disciples this way, then we need to do it the way Jesus said to do it. 
 
I have a good friend who likes to say, “Jesus started the church the way he wanted it. Now he wants it the way he started it.” We don’t have the luxury or the authority to change what Jesus has mandated. We are simply called to shepherd the flock under our care, with the right motives under the leadership of Jesus, the Chief Shepherd who is coming back for his church (I Peter 5.1-4)
 
This blog features an excerpt from one of our books, Bold Moves.





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