Sometimes we can get so wrapped up in what defines a thing that we can miss the thing which is right in front of us. The effort to contain the idea with the intention of mastering it becomes a distracting rabbit trail. We can get so wrapped up about what it is that we can miss being it.
I’ve been reading and thinking about discipleship. I’ve been asking myself, “am I a disciple maker” and “could I be a better disciple maker?” These questions raise the logical question of “what is a disciple?” That thought process can lead to conclusions of examples of who “is” and who “isn’t,” at least by definition.
This is a work in progress for me, but so far I’m starting with my own experience to try to determine how to maximize disciple making. Two men jump out in my memory as those who invested in me most intentionally to date. The thing they had as a common trait was that they were doers more than they were “teachers” in the transfer of information sense of the word.
The first chased God and invited myself and a couple of others to chase with him, which created an environment where we individually sought God together. We drew near to God and He met us in our pursuit. We connected to Him individually, together. There were testimonies more than there were lessons. “This is what God is showing me . . . ” in Scripture and life more than, “you need to . . . ” do any particular thing. The testimonies increasingly became leveled out to where the disciples were sharing in such a way that the disciple maker was simply one of the four.
The second of the men invited me as he ministered to others for the purpose of raising me up in my ministry to others. I would sit next to him and watch and listen and then, when I was ready, I would contribute. He would gradually increasingly release me to lead and eventually leave the room when I was out front as evidence of trust.
It took years in each case to move from these seasons of growth to the next season of expressing the new-found maturity. There were no shortcuts and there was no final exam. I still receive from each of them, but the relationship is more co-laboring than it was initially.
I haven’t finalized conclusions about disciple making, just yet, but as I think about the most distinct examples of disciple makers in my life, I see:
- Doers of the Word
- Security in their identity
- Willingness to invite and share
- Desire to promote
- Ability to laugh in the middle of the process
- Grace for when I get it wrong
- Transparency with their own flaws