You may be thinking that my definition for DmL makes sense but that I really cannot make a case for it outside of Jesus Christ and the Great Commission in Matthew 28. Now, we will dig into that specific and well-known passage later, but I want to prove a point - the New Testament is filled with examples of DmL.
Take your Bible and go to Titus 1:1. Paul, in writing this letter to Titus, is in full discipleship mode for this young pastor. In fact, his entire letter was premised upon the purpose of discipleship. Read that opening verse and watch what Paul says.
He lays out his purpose as a servant of God to help other Christians specifically in their "knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness." His life goal, and purpose for discipleship with Titus, was building up internal truth that lead to external godliness. When Paul uses the term knowledge, he is referencing the type gained through a personally-experienced relationship that intentionally points toward a specific object or direction. In other words, he is passing along what he has learned to another person to create a specific and intentional relationship with the truth.
We all should be living in such a way and looking for whom we can disciple! What do YOU need to do right now to live DmL?
First, and most importantly, you need to study God's Word for your own personal growth. You cannot lead others without having crossed that ground first. Once you have that right foundation, you then move into a functional R.O.L.E. Let me explain a little what that acronym means and provide you a chart to work through:
1. Recognize your Position - this factor is established and settled. Paul considers himself a slave in Titus 1:1 meaning that he is not his own, he has been purchased, and he has the responsibility to serve his Master. You and I are in the same position if we are Christians. Jesus redeemed us - bought us back - through His blood and our only responsibility is to serve Him.
2. Outline your Strengths - this is where you start to complete the chart below. What are the strengths and skills and abilities that God has given to you? Those gifts are the tools where you can serve Him with a focus on DmL. Maybe you are gifted at construction. While that may not be theological, you can still use it to disciple someone. There could be a person in your church that needs help building a shed. You show up, use the skills God has provided, and then talk to them about God during that time. You get to build both physically and spiritually.
3. Look for one Person - as mentioned in a previous blog, discipleship primarily occurs in small groups and the Scriptural model tends toward 1:1 relationships. Who is the one person God has in your life that you can disciple? You may not have this answer right now but make it a matter of prayer. Ask God to reveal that one person. If you pray and keep your eyes open, He will answer.
4. Endeavor to Continue - this requires perseverance and discipline. I guarantee that you will start with excitement and consistent meetings, and then "life" happens. You will start to think of every excuse and will start justifying why you are too busy. Look back at Titus 1:1 again and reconsider Paul's responsibility here. The language does not imply a temporary choice but a permanent duty to exhibit Disciple-making Leadership. The same applies to you and me.
As mentioned above, here is a little chart to help you think through your functional R.O.L.E. If you have comments, questions, or ideas, send them my way.