In the textbook for Evangelism Explosion, D. James Kennedy makes the following statement regarding discipling new believers: "To disciple another properly requires a vision of what the grace of God can do for a person. Those who are satisfied with merely proclaiming the Gospel and receiving professions are like immoral seducers. The seducer is satisfied merely to exploit and then tell of his exploits rather than entering into a meaningful marriage commitment."
When I first read these impacting words, all I could think of was - I didn't want to be an immoral seducer! I didn't want to just lead someone to the Lord and walk away. I wanted to take seriously the call to disciple and allow Christ to work through me so that they would become mature believers.
Discipleship is sharing the love of Jesus with those around us. Whether it be through a formal discipling relationship in which we have a set agenda of material to cover each week or if it is discipling through just the time we spend together. It is loving, caring people - not materials and programs - that make disciples.
In Acts chapter 2 it tells us that 3000 got added to the Lord. So often we interpret this to mean that they got saved, but what it really means is that they became disciples - functional, maturing, reproducing followers of Jesus Christ. The Kingdom of the Lord is about building relationships. Discipleship is exactly that. It is building a relationship with someone through love, respect, unity and closeness. It is about showing kindness that speaks louder than words and let's others know that we are followers of Jesus Christ. Discipleship is about holding each other accountable, for both celebration and correction! It is about being an example that others can follow.
In 2 Thessalonians 3:9 Paul writes "We did this in order to make ourselves a model for you to follow." Christ has called each one of us to be disciples, to be an example. D. James Kennedy writes, "Whether you like it or not, you are going to multiply 'after your kind.' Therefore be sure you are the kind that should be multiplied." Strong words but true. Discipleship is an awesome responsibility in which you will influence someone through your relationship with him or her and the Lord. We need to make sure that our relationship with the Lord is strong because discipleship - making functional, maturing, reproducing followers of Jesus Christ - is an awesome privilege given to us by the Almighty!
First A/G, Manchester NH