If you start a marathon as if it were a sprint, you will use your energy too quickly and give up too soon. When it comes to making disciples, remember that it’s more like a marathon than a sprint. Making disciples is a lifelong commitment, not a passing a fad in your life.
As you continue to walk with Jesus and make disciples, you’ll meet people who started out well. Once upon a time, they were passionate about walking with God, reaching their world, and investing in a few. But now they’re distracted, disappointed, or disillusioned.
On the other hand, you’ll meet people who are still as committed to the cause of Christ as they ever were. They’ve dealt with disappointment but remained steadfast in their efforts. As they look back, they can tell you about people who are walking with God and making a difference for others because of their investment. They will tell you that the cost was worth it.
How can you stay committed to making disciples for a lifetime? There are a few things that will help you:
1. Maintain your personal relationship with Christ.
You can only reproduce what you are. You’ll never be able to produce healthy disciples of Jesus if you aren’t a healthy disciple of Jesus. This was Jesus’ point when He said, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing” John 15.5 NIV. Just as a branch has to stay connected to the tree in order to bear fruit, you must stay connected to Christ so His Spirit and power can flow through you and make a difference in the world.
2. Engage new people.
If you want to keep making disciples, you have to keep meeting potential disciples. Pray for God to bring new people across your path who are spiritually hungry and seeking something more than popular culture has to offer them. Start conversations with the people around you at school, in your neighborhood, at work, or even at the store. Make it a priority to be with people who are far from God.
3. Invest your life.
People who make disciples for a lifetime are committed to continually investing their lives in others. They don’t see disciple-making as something that happens one time with one group of people. They keep doing the work – day by day, week by week, month by month, year by year – because they know that’s what it takes to see God ignite a movement of multiplication that spans generations.
Making disciples for a lifetime doesn’t happen by accident. It happens through a series of intentional decisions that position you to make an eternal impact. Intentionally cultivate space for God to work in your own life. Intentionally reach out to people who are far from God in your sphere of influence. Intentionally invest in a few who are ready to take the next step. And most importantly, don’t give up.
This blog features an excerpt from one of our Student Series books, Invest In A Few.