“And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”
One of the common questions I am asked from people looking to join my church is, “What do you do for discipleship?” My answer is probably not what they are looking for, but it is the most Scriptural answer one could give. I tell those who ask me this question that I simply do what Christ did, and that is I ask people to follow me as I serve the LORD. I know this may not be the answer they are looking for, but this is how Christ grounded His disciples.
The idea of having a discipleship class is not what Christ did, but what the liberal, lazy believer does who doesn’t want to go soul winning. The word “disciple” means follower. Let me ask you, how can anyone be a follower by sitting? Don’t get me wrong, I believe in getting people grounded in Scriptural truths, but Jesus never had a discipleship class; rather, He grounded His disciples AS they followed Him. If you make discipleship a class, you are perverting the world “disciple,” and you are teaching people that Christ wants us to sit instead of serve. Let me share with you Christ’s discipleship plan that should be instituted by every believer and church.
First, Christ’s discipleship plan was modeled on action. Discipleship is not inactive but active. You will notice that Jesus commanded Andrew and Peter to “Follow me…” Jesus didn’t say, “Sit with me,” because His ministry is not about sitting, but about reaching the lost for Christ. Jesus knew that He could ignite a fire inside of His disciples if they followed Him and saw the works that He accomplished.
Second, Christ’s discipleship plan was focused on soul winning. Notice that Jesus said, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” The purpose of the disciples following Christ was so that they would reach the lost. You will not be successful in making disciples by focusing on discipleship, but you make disciples by getting people focused on reaching the lost. The first word in the Great Commission is “Go…” Christ wants us to go and reach the lost.
Third, Christ’s discipleship plan was based on building faith. Jesus always built the faith of His disciples by putting them in situations that their faith was tested. The easiest way to get new believers to walk with God in prayer is to get them to step out by faith. When you attempt something by faith, you will find it easy to pray and ask for God’s help.
Fourth, Christ’s discipleship plan was accomplished by instruction by example. Jesus said, “Follow me…” In other words, He was saying that you don’t disciple people by sitting, but by getting into the trenches and serving the LORD alongside the one you are trying to teach. You will train more people by your example of serving God than you ever will by reading through a discipleship book with a new believer. While you are serving the LORD, you create trust and dialogue with a new believer that causes them to ask you questions. People will learn how to serve God by your example much more than they will through a class.
My friend, Christ’s discipleship plan led to a world being turned upside down for Christ. This plan that I have just shown you has always worked. You won’t change a world by sitting, but you change a world by going and serving God with a new believer; this is the model that has always created disciples for Christ.