This post is the next in a series that explores each part of the IMPACT acrostic. Each post is designed to expand the meaning and usefulness of the actions indicated in the acrostic. It is important to remember that the IMPACT Blog gets its name from a keyword in our FBC mission statement, so as we explore the larger meaning behind our name, we are also exploring foundational goals and values of FBC Hartselle.
Influence the culture
Make disciples who make disciples
Permeate the community
Act according to the leading of the Holy Spirit
Create awareness in the community
Transform individuals, families, and our neighborhoods
So, what does “Make disciples who make disciples” really mean to us?
WHY make disciples?
That’s what Jesus did.
And He said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men” (Matthew 4:19).
He chose twelve men (the first disciples) to lead, teach, and enable. They listened to Him teach. They watched Him meet people’s needs. They put into action what they had learned and experienced. They taught (they discipled) others to follow the same pattern.
2. That’s what Jesus commissioned us to do.
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19)
A follower and a student are two synonyms for the word disciple. Our assignment involves two actions. First, we are to help people become followers of Jesus by sharing the gospel message. The second action is to teach others how to practice Biblical principles, share the gospel, and teach (disciple) new followers to make more disciples.
3. That’s what the Bible explains how to do.
In II Timothy 2:2 Paul writes, “…and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also.”
Have you ever thought about what would happen if you saved one penny a day? To most, one penny isn’t even worth picking up off of the sidewalk or keeping in our change purses or pockets. To most, we are quick to tell the cashier to keep the change when only pennies are involved. But what if we accumulated and treasured our pennies for, say, 30 years; instead of overlooking or discarding them, what if we picked them up and put them in a safe place. One penny a day, that is doubled the next day, and then doubled again the next day for 30 years would result in what financial experts refer to as the power of compounding and would put a whopping $5,368,709.12 in your figurative pockets. Five million, three-hundred-sixty- eight-thousand, seven-hundred-nine dollars and twelve cents. Now, convert those pennies to people. Can you see how effectively disciples could be multiplied by following the formula described in II Timothy 2:2?
HOW can you make disciples?
Making disciples usually happens in a combination of a formal and informal process.
Several years ago, 4 or 5 boys in a neighborhood got crossbows for Christmas. The next day they made a target to shoot at and started happily firing away. That is except for one boy who stood by watching without even stringing an arrow in his bow. No, he wasn’t afraid of getting hurt or of missing the target. The reason he gave was, “I don’t want to get my new arrows dirty.” But he did stay with the group, and before long he joined the fun and forgot about his fear of putting some wear and tear on those new arrows.
More often than not, discipleship begins that way, too. If we ask Him to, God brings people into our lives who need to learn how to follow Jesus. As we allow them to watch the effects of our relationship with Jesus, they will begin to ask questions that open the way to sharing biblical principles we’ve learned in our own walk with Christ.
There are plenty of written guides for teaching doctrines of the Christian faith in a formal setting. Experiencing God by Henry Blackaby and Claude King is a familiar one. Studies like it are useful in small groups or a one-on-one setting. Members of FBC have access to a host of resources available on our website. Find “Resources,” then click on “Training” and you’ll find plenty of material to help you learn and lead in the process of disciple-making.
Pray and ask God to show you who is open to your help.
Prepare yourself through personal study of the Bible and other resources.
Look for opportunities to practice discipleship (get your arrows dirty!)
Commit time to the process.
Let’s pray that whenever we are among people, we will remember and practice the advice in Colossians 4: 5-6 so can we build relationships that open doors to making disciples for Jesus: “Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.”