HOW TO BE A DISCIPLE (THAT MAKES DISCIPLES)!
“You want me to do what!?”, I exclaimed. The InterVarsity staff worker repeated himself, “You really need to share your faith and invest in people around you…” It stung. But he was right. Essentially, I needed to take discipleship seriously! I remember trying to do what he said and failing over and over again. Am I really called to make disciples?
Fast forward a few years later, and my life had become very different. Our apartment was alive with freshmen and sophomore students studying with us, playing music together, talking about life, sharing meals, and … surprisingly, becoming disciples. We were helping each other follow Jesus.
These students went on to graduate and become Godly men and women in the marketplace, medical world, non-profit arena, and even go to other countries for missions and humanitarian efforts. I had no idea that they would be such world-changers. I am proud of them! It is amazing to know that we were all together at some point being disciples together.
I learned a few things about discipleship from that time to the present. I want to point out four keys to discipleship that are taken from John 1-4, and they are as follows:
Key #1. Point out Jesus in Everyday Life
It is vital that you point out Jesus to your friends – even in the mundane. An everyday moment in your life can become the platform for the extraordinary, if you take time to share about Jesus. John the Baptist told his disciples, Andrew tells Peter, Philip tells Nathaniel, and the story continues! (John 1)
Two years ago, I pointed out Jesus in the middle of a bad car accident I had, and many college students had their faith deepen and some became first-time disciples of Jesus. I have had many, random conversations about Jesus during car oil changes, eating at fast food places, or walking around my neighborhood. Try it! You’ll be surprised!
Key #2. Be Gracious but Share Truth
Typical conversations tend toward “sin and humanity’s propensity for evil”. I guess this is great, but normally people want to talk about life. As they share about life, you should show tons of grace. Don’t condemn, put people in a box, or judge them. What a terrible mentality! Instead, hear people out. Join people in their hurts. Love them as you listen.
However, you must be bold to share the truth in love. Jesus shows grace at the Wedding of Cana, but then the very next story, He is flipping tables at the Temple. (John 2) There are moments when you must be honest and truthful. But just like Jesus, pick and choose when you do this. Grace and Truth are an amazing combination. Use both often, but let grace abound!
Key #3. Call Others to Become Disciples
Be ready to extend an invitation for people to become disciples. Invitations are powerful. You can have a great conversation with someone, but then walk away from it without any next steps. Nicodemus meets Jesus at night and they have a crazy, deep conversation about babies, water, wind, light, and darkness… yeah, it’s a weird conversation! Nicodemus learns that Jesus has come to save the entire world and not condemn it. Nicodemus accepts the invitation and believes. (John 3)
I remember being at an ordinary Bible Study on a particular campus. During the study, one of the leaders taps me on the shoulder and asks me to make an invitation for people to become disciples. I hesitated. I don’t know anyone in the room… but I guess everyone deserves an invitation! At the end, I asked. I waited. Awkward silence. Just as I was about to close, many people responded, and one person for the first time! Wow, the power of an invitation. I urge you to invite others to become a disciple. Try it!
Key #4. Be Willing to Cross Barriers
There will be many times in life that you will have to cross ethnic, gender, and/or social barriers in order to make disciples. It can feel difficult, and sometimes impossible, to cross these barriers. Jesus shows us how to do this when He meets the Samaritan woman at the well. Jews and Samaritans hated one another. Jesus is an esteemed teacher and this woman is a social outcast. Jesus is a man and this Samaritan is a woman. Yet Jesus offers an invitation! (John 4)
You must be willing to do the same. It can be a rich, rewarding experience when you walk through life with others that are different from you. Don’t be intimidated by the barriers, but believe that you can point out Jesus, share grace and truth, and make invitations while in ANY context. Jesus is present everywhere and ready to meet our friends (both new and old). Yes, there will be awkward moments, but that’s a small price to pay!
South Asians don’t take discipleship seriously… I admit, I was the same way! We go from event to event, riding a roller coaster of spiritual highs and lows, but never inviting others to journey in faith together as a community. We expect that one moment of clarity will sustain us. We need more than that – we need to follow Jesus in the midst of life… together.
Discipleship can unlock the healing that many desperately need, it can encourage many that need a listening ear, and it can deepen the faith of countless people around you! I urge you to invest in 1-2 people around you starting today. We can break the cycle of shallow, ritualistic religion. Replace it with a vibrant, loving movement of disciples! Become a disciple and make disciples.
You are an Everyday World Changer! Start today!
Do you have any questions about being a disciple and making disciples? Do you have a story to share about discipleship? Please comment below or send me an email.