As I mentioned in the first post, Matthew 28:18-20 presents a succinct calling to discipleship, and forms the basis of my methodology. In this post, I’m going to give the overview of how I pursue discipleship in practice.
First and foremost, I disciple in groups, and secondly, we meet formally on a weekly basis. Lastly, I ask the people that I am investing in to serve in a ministry I am serving so we are walking alongside one another in context of service, and therefore are spending more time together than once per week.
When thinking about an individual, I am seeking to apply the centrality of Jesus in three areas of life:
If we are teaching to obey Jesus’ commands, we must first know Him. I typically work through Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology with the individuals I am discipling, and have found that it is a great way to develop a solid foundation and common language as we move forward together through life.
Most of the “teaching” I do focuses on processing and application, asking questions that direct applying doctrine to worship, prayer and evangelism.
This area focuses on the personal application of Jesus’ teachings, and the personal disciplines that follow.
For obedience to Jesus’ commands, I think George Patterson summarizes the basic commands well:
- Repent, believe and receive the Holy Spirit
- Be baptized
- Celebrate Communion
- Show love by serving the needy, forgiving others, and praising God
- Teach disciples to obey Jesus
I primarily use the REAP method of daily time in Scripture, and have found that alternating weeks of Systematic Theology and simply sharing REAP as a group on the other week gives a good rhythm to our time.
The REAP time is also used for confession, prayer and accountability for these basic commands (I also encourage smaller accountability in pairs that meet weekly).
This area focuses on the external application of the teachings of Jesus, and more specifically how the person is applying them into ministry.
This area is much less formalized because I tend to do it more intuitively, but I generally focus on personal disciplines like time management, finances, etc. and ministry skills like teaching, administration and others (I tend to focus on the ones I am gifted in…probably need to grow in that area).
I find that these conversations naturally happen as I am serving alongside the people I am discipling and I have the opportunity to observe them in ministry. The key to doing it well is giving ownership to ministry, provide some oversight in the planning and execution, and then providing feedback after the particular task has been done.
In the next post, I’ll focus on the basic process of discipleship, but until then, how do you practice discipleship?