After you’ve determined the person God wants you to disciple, it’s time to ask if they’re interested. Specifically, you want to ask him or her to start meeting with you and a few others for the purpose of spiritual growth. Again, it’s best to follow Jesus’ example for this.
Matthew 4.18-20 NLT says, “One day as Jesus was walking along the shore of the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers – Simon, also called Peter, and Andrew – throwing a net into the water, for they fished for a living. Jesus called out to them, ‘Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!’ And they left their nets at once and followed him.”
In this scene, Jesus takes the initiative. He approached them, shared His vision, and asked them to follow Him. When you see someone who is interested and faithful, don’t wait for them to approach you. You should take the initiative and approach them.
How to approach a person you want to disciple.
When you get ready to approach the person about your idea, pay attention to the place and time. Some places don’t lend themselves to having this kind of conversation. Also, people can be more or less responsive at different times. Jesus met Peter and Andrew in a place where they felt comfortable, and at a time when they were available. You would be wise to do the same.
Maybe you could invite the person you have in mind to meet over lunch or at a local coffee shop. If they’re usually busy during the day, then suggest a time in the morning or evening. If they have a lot going on during the week, then ask about the weekend. You might say something like, “God has put you on my heart, and I’d really like to get together with you. Is there a time that works best for you?”
When you meet, start off with small talk. Then you can bring up the topic of disciple-making. You might say, “I wanted to meet because God has been teaching me something lately that made me think of you.” That will surely get their attention. At that point, grab a napkin and write four words on it: Explore, Connect, Grow, and Multiply.
Explain that these are the four steps that Jesus used to make disciples who changed the world. In the Explore stage, a person is exploring the claims of Christ and seeking answers to spiritual questions. The Connect stage is when a person decides to follow Christ, join a church, and start serving in some way. In the Grow stage, a person meets with a smaller group to focus on spiritual growth. The Multiply stage is when a person starts to invest his or her life in others to help them grow.
Sharing your vision.
This is the time to share your vision. You might say something like, “I’m convinced that God has a better plan for our lives than we have for ourselves. So often, our visions are small. We want to be successful or have nice things or be happy. But God wants us to walk with Him personally, reach the people around us, and invest in a few people who will be world changers.” Cast a vision that is more compelling than whatever they’re currently aiming at with their life.
Finally, invite the person to pray about joining your group. Be clear about what’s involved. Let them know you’ll meet once a week for seven weeks and that you’ll be working through a book that will help them walk with God in a deeper way.
It’s not your job to try to convince the person to be discipled. Your role is simply to provide an opportunity. The decision is up to them. All you can do is cast the vision and allow the Holy Spirit to draw them to take the next step.
This blog features an excerpt from the Grow Series for Students, which is coming soon!