“Go and make disciples of all nations…” Matthew 28:19
I wonder what was going through the minds of the disciples as they received this great commission. I can only guess that someone had to change their pants afterward. Making disciples is an intimidating task. It was scary when I was a Lifegroup leader in college and it’s still scary as a pastor at Antioch RDU.
Yet, Jesus doesn’t leave much room for excuses. We are called to make disciples.Discipleship was the main strategy of Jesus and embodies the heart of the Gospel:
“As the Father has sent me, so I am sending you.” John 20:21
God has sent His Son into our lives, and we are sent to make an impact into the lives of others. No, discipleship is not easy- most things worth doing aren’t easy. But by God’s grace, it’s possible and totally worth it.
So how do you make disciples?
I want to offer three simple steps that have helped me in the journey of making disciples:
1. Build Authentic Relationship.
The best discipleship relationships begin on the foundation of trust. Share your journey with them and hear their stories. Be yourself. Model vulnerability and talk about the sins and fears that Jesus has helped you overcome. I love Pumpkin Spice Lattes, but there’s no mention in Scripture of Jesus doing discipleship in coffee shop. Feel free to get out and live life with people that you’re discipling.
2. Make Intentional Investment.
Intentionality makes the dream a reality. Ask them how they want to grow and guide them there step by step. Impart the simple values of loving God and loving others. Read through a book together and talk about applying it to your lives. Antioch has several resources online to help teach Kingdom values.
3. Give a Missional Challenge.
People are at their best when they have a vision beyond themselves. The person you are discipling has gifts and callings that the world needs. Help them discern their God-given callings and empower them to pursue it. Challenge them to serve, go on mission trips and make disciples.
After seven years of doing this, I’ve been encouraged when I’ve looked back and seen those I’ve discipled become missionaries, youth pastors, business leaders and worship leaders who are radically following Jesus and changing the world more than myself.
No, it’s not easy. But it’s totally worth it.
By Travis Nicholson, Associate Pastor, Antioch Raleigh-Durham