We all get the job description for Christians: “Go and Make Disciples” (Matt 28:19). But the question I often get asked is, “how do you make disciples?” This is a great question and one that the church in North America hasn’t answered very well. We’ve made attenders and singers and listeners, but I wonder about our ability to make disciples.
We’ve made attenders and singers and listeners, but I wonder about our ability to make disciples.
In your men’s ministry, you are called to help men become, grow, and live as everyday Christ followers. That’s what you want to see. Not just, how many men showed up for breakfast. It’s about watching men discover and live out their God-given destiny; having a front-row seat to their discovery of what it means to have a living relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.
So let’s talk about discipling men. How do you do it?
Well, the first thing is to begin with the end in mind. You need to start by asking this question, “what does a fully devoted follower of Jesus Christ look like?” And drill down until you can define it.
A fully devoted follower of Jesus is going to require you to look at the whole person and determine what actions and attitudes should you be seeing and be developing in that individuals’ life. We know that we never arrive, we are always on a journey to becoming more like Jesus. But what does that look like in your context?
Is it a suit wearing, King James bible carrying, pearly white smiling, firm handshake gripping man that comes to every men’s event and sits in the front? Is that good enough? For many, the two-dimensional disciple ticks most of our boxes: √ shows up √ looks good. But that can’t be what a fully devoted follower of Jesus looks like!
Let’s talk Spiritual Disciplines. What actions do you want to see? Prayer. Reading the Bible. Fasting. Listening to the voice of God. Good. Now what attitudes do you want that person to have towards each action? We don’t just want them to read the Bible, we want them to read the Bible like a mirror; reflecting back to them what it’s saying and what they should do about it. Now we’re getting somewhere! A clear picture of the actions and attitudes will help men develop and deepen their spiritual disciplines. Paul didn’t just say in 2 Corinthians 9:7 to, “give” (an action), he said “give cheerfully” (an attitude).
Let’s talk Relationships. This is another aspect of following Christ. We don’t do it alone. What type of life giving relationships should a follower of Jesus have? Are you looking for surface level; I come, I eat, I leave? OR, are you looking for vulnerability, authenticity and genuineness? News flash. That ain’t normal. Guys are going to have to be led (discipled) into this. They are going to need to test out the waters before they let their guard down. They are going to need to be called on their stuff when they put up walls. If you don’t have a clear definition of this, it will be hard to hold men to it.
Let’s talk Serving. This is another area of discipleship that needs to be defined. What does it mean to serve? What are your gifts? What is the purpose that God made you for? God has made every single man unique to do a job that only they can do. Understanding what it means to serve is more than volunteering to clean up the pans after the breakfast, it’s about discovering who you are and what God has made you to do.
This is a lifelong discovery that doesn’t end until you and I leave this earth. Men must be continually pressed upon to seek out their next step in service to God. Discipleship isn’t about using people to do tasks, it’s about using tasks to develop people. If you can clearly define what a fully devoted follower of Christ serves his master, you will be able to call men to discover and live out their destiny.
Let’s talk Evangelism. Most discipleship initiatives stop before they get here. We think discipleship is learning about God. But the main outcome of following Jesus is to lead more people to do the same. Jesus himself said that, “if you follow me, I will make you fishers of men” (Matt 4:19). This means that we must talk and tell about all the things that God is doing in our life wherever we find ourselves. But, do we know how to have spiritual conversations with non-believers? Do we think that evangelism is sales? Or, do we know how to partner with the Holy Spirit on a conversation He is already having with someone? Evangelism in this era isn’t about scaring someone out of hell, it is helping people become aware there is more to life than this and pointing them to the real Jesus void of all the trimmings of cultural Christianity.
We think discipleship is learning about God. But the main outcome of following Jesus is to lead more people to do the same.
If you want to disciple men, you need to think through “what does a fully devoted follower look like” in the areas of: Spiritual Disciplines, Relationships, Serving and Evangelism”. What actions and attitudes should we be seeing and developing in each of these areas? How can we identify the end goal and then close the gaps that we see? When we begin with the end in mind, we’ll achieve the goal of making disciples who make disciples.