The Stop & Go Process of Disciple Making

What many churches call discipleship, or disciple-making is a far cry from what Jesus had in mind when He gave us the Great Commission. What you are doing may be the very reason your church is struggling when it comes to reaching non-Christians with the gospel. ​

I work with dozens of churches each year, helping them align their strategies and programming with their disciple-making results (measures).  My observation is that most churches have three core components when it comes to their strategy.  Most often, it consists of 1) a gathering where worship takes place, 2) groups where people connect and study the Bible, and 3) a place of service in the church.  It may look like some variation of the drawing below.

This model most often assumes that people find their way into our gatherings, and the rest will take care of itself.  The challenge to this assumption is that in today’s culture that people are no longer finding us.  We have reached everyone like us or who is wants to be like us.  If we are frank about our situation, if we are experiencing growth at all, it is usually the result of doing things better than the churches around us and reaching their attenders and members.   In essence, we are growing at the expense of the churches around us, with little or no actual kingdom growth.

Think about it for a moment.  We encourage disciples to gather for Christian worship on the weekends and then gather with a smaller group of Christian in our homes during the week for Bible Study.  You may be wondering what’s wrong with this?  Well, I’m glad you asked.  Jesus didn’t save us to spend our lives in a holy huddle.  The very commission he gave us begins with an imperative to “go.”

For Jesus, there was no separation in evangelism and disciple-making.  Evangelism is simply the first part of a holistic process we refer to as disciple-making.  Whenever I think of disciple-making, I process it through our pipeline that includes:  pre-disciples, new-disciples, growing, disciples, multiplying disciples, and catalytic disciples.  A healthy disciple-making culture will have both pre and new-disciples flowing through it.

A more open system for disciple-making might look like the one I use when working with leaders or catalytic disciples who are interested in catalyzing disciple-making movements.

This is what we call a strategy map, and it consists of five components.  Here’s a super quick overview.  I will save a fuller discussion for future writings.

Enter the Field
Jesus calls us to enter the fields that are already “white unto harvest”.  We must be intentional about equipping disciples at every level of our pipeline to enter the harvest field.  This may require a rethinking of how we relate to people where we live, work, and play.

Plant the Gospel
We plant the gospel by proclaiming the good news that in Christ, God did for us what we could not do for ourselves in that He redeemed us, He is renewing us, and He is ultimately going to restore all of creation.  We plant the gospel by telling our story and telling His story of redemption.  While the gospel may be demonstrated non-verbally through our actions, be not mistaken, the gospel is verbal.  The gospel is a good news announcement that must be proclaimed.

Make Disciples
Once someone is open to the gospel, disciple-making begins.  I was reminded the other day of a young man I disciple for two-years before he became a Christian.  I did this by engaging in a relationship with him, having an honest dialogue where I answered his question, and introduce him to my broader Christian community.  My disciple-making efforts consisted of exposing him to Gospel Truth, Gospel Community, and Gospel Mission.  We did life-on-life, life-in-community, and life-on-mission together.

Form the Church
Once you begin making disciples, you can then form new communities or new churches around those disciples.  When I first started this journey of church planting, I thought I needed to form a church and then go make disciples.  What I have discovered in the post-church era is we have to make disciples and then form the church around those disciples.

Reproduce
The final part of our strategy is to reproduce.  We reproduce other disciples, groups, churches, ministries, and networks.  However, it’s important to note that reproduction begins in the pre-disciple phase.  If we meet someone open to the gospel, then we can ask that person if he has family or friends that might be open to the gospel.  When they do, we can encourage them to invite us into their network, and when this happens, they are learning to reproduce from day one.

Now let me ask you a question: Which one of these approaches to church is going to allow us to make disciples of people far from God?  Hopefully, both, but certainly the open system, is going to be more effective in today’s context.

> Read more from David.


 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

David Putman

David Putman

David is a Lead Navigator serving on the Auxano Team, the category leader in vision clarity and vision focus campaigns. He is also founder leader of Planting the Gospel a non-profit ministry committed to helping churches move discipleship from a program to a culture. He has been involved in church planting for over twenty years as a planter, strategist, and coach. He is author of I Woke Up In Heaven, The Gospel Disciple, Detox for the Overly Religious, Breaking the Discipleship Code, and co-author of Breaking the Missional Code with Ed Stetzer. He latest book The Gospel Disciple Journey will be released in February 2014. David’s life mission is to help others discover the simplicity, centrality, and beauty of Jesus and his ways. David is married to Tami and they have two awesome kids, and two even more awesome grandkids.

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comment_post_ID); ?> I agree 100%, you can tell if a church is doing this it grows, if there's no growth there's poor leadership..
 
— Dennis Whiterock
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Great work Bubba! Its exciting to see how God has blessed your faithfulness over your lifetime into remarkable, fruitful, Kingdom expansion! Jesus DID say, "without Me you can do nothing!" (John 15:5). No surprise that He rewards "thick and thin" prayer with great fruitfulness! :)
 
— Mike Taylor
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I loved this presentation. It helped greatly as I organized an Outreach Ministry of The Shepherds Care. Thank you. Esther Callaham Mahgoube Emmanuel Pentecostal Church New Jersey
 
— Esther Mahgoube
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

What if “Real Church Growth” Became the New Normal in the North American Church?

If we’re honest, it’s pretty easy to see the functional Great Commission in North America: Go into all the world and make more worship attenders, baptizing them in the name of small groups, and teaching them to volunteer a few times a month.

For all kinds of reasons, the words “church” and “growth” have become embarrassing when put side by side. Yet just because the lingo of the Church Growth Movement has departed from our lips doesn’t mean that the model isn’t still firmly rooted in our hearts and minds. Though the facade of church growth has been stripped off our institutions, the bones of the house are right where they’ve always been.

More than we’d like to admit, our default strategy for seeing people come to faith in Jesus begins and ends with pumping people through our priority programs. It’s the classic attractional mindset.

And by the way, you can find it in every church—including those that wouldn’t be caught dead being associated with those “sell-out” attractional churches and also in those that simply aren’t attracting people very well.

Desperate for a measure that matters

Ask yourself this question: Why do people come to your church (or any church)? Most likely, it’s for:

  • Place: the beauty, convenience, or sentimental attachments of the place
  • Personality: affection for a leader
  • Program: what they (or more likely, their kids) receive from a certain program
  • People: friendships within that community

Not one of these “P’s” are bad. In fact, all of them are good. Like the lower story of a house, no one gets inside without going through them as the entry level.

But are these all the church is for? When any of us responded to God’s call to devote our lives to serve the church, was it because we were so in love with these things? I doubt it. They weren’t enough to draw us to the bride of Christ, and they aren’t enough to keep us in love with her either.

When we toil away at the work of the Lord—desperate for some sign that we’re getting somewhere and that our work is not in vain—it’s the most natural thing in the world to hunt for some proxy indicator that we’re not wasting our time.

Enter programs.

When we can count the flow of bodies through the pipelines of our program plumbing—well, we must doing something right. Right?

Don’t throw out the baby

The dirty little secret among so many pastors is that we are really good at faking disciples rather than making disciples. The quantity and quality of our programs—and our sheer busyness keeping it all going—distract us from the truth.

Some pastors do recognize it, and they are so fed up with the superficiality of program jockeying that they’re ready to reject church growth altogether with all the attendance-, program-, and purpose-drivenness that comes with it.

That is a mistake. While we throw out the “church growth movement” bathwater, let’s not throw out the baby as well. There truly is a line that connects the dots of growth and disciple-making.

In short, if there is one thing I’m sure of, it’s that the best way to grow your church is by growing your people. I’m on the warpath for this principle, which I call “real church growth.”

Real church growth

Why should we give up on church growth? Why shouldn’t it be something we’re looking after, praying after, knocking on the doors of heaven for? Why wouldn’t we want to disciple people in such a way that they are empowered and emboldened to lead people to Christ? We shouldn’t give up on growing the church as people come to faith in Jesus. Jesus says we should expect fruit (and fruit that lasts!).

But there’s a certain way he’s set everything up. “Real church growth” takes seriously the idea that if your church grows past 120 people, you have to ask the question, “What does organized disciple-making look like in this context?”

At the end of the day, it’s about this:

Real Church Growth = Organized Disciple-Making

And, “Organized Disciple-Making” does not equate to the programs you’re running—or, for that matter, to the programs the “bigger and better” church down the street or the one across the country is running.

See, if you’re not doing organized disciple-making, my guess is that you’re doing programmatic education in the name of Jesus. But chances are, it’s “untransformational Christian education.” It may be well-executed and it might look good on Facebook or Instagram, but it’s probably not growing your church, nor is it really growing your people.

When I talk to pastors, I’m not interested in a church’s programs to mass-manufacture the raised-religious. I want to hear about their organized disciple-making process. I’m talking about how a church sets up a simple system that helps disciples of Jesus make brand-new disciples, who in turn make still more.

Real church growth. What if that became the new normal in the North American church?

> Read more from Will.


 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Will Mancini

Will Mancini

Will Mancini wants you and your ministry to experience the benefits of stunning, God-given clarity. As a pastor turned vision coach, Will has worked with an unprecedented variety of churches from growing megachurches and missional communities, to mainline revitalization and church plants. He is the founder of Auxano, creator of VisionRoom.com and the author of God Dreams and Church Unique.

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Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> I agree 100%, you can tell if a church is doing this it grows, if there's no growth there's poor leadership..
 
— Dennis Whiterock
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Great work Bubba! Its exciting to see how God has blessed your faithfulness over your lifetime into remarkable, fruitful, Kingdom expansion! Jesus DID say, "without Me you can do nothing!" (John 15:5). No surprise that He rewards "thick and thin" prayer with great fruitfulness! :)
 
— Mike Taylor
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I loved this presentation. It helped greatly as I organized an Outreach Ministry of The Shepherds Care. Thank you. Esther Callaham Mahgoube Emmanuel Pentecostal Church New Jersey
 
— Esther Mahgoube
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Disciplemaking Leaders: Pursue a C.L.O.S.E.R. Walk with God

Discipleship is a process that begins after conversion and continues throughout a believer’s life. Discipleship calls for our undivided attention and commitment to follow the commands of our Lord. Discipleship is not an option for any church or believer. Christ mandated it in the Great Commission. To disciple others is to obey our Lord’s command; to do otherwise is to disobey Him.

It becomes easy for every church’s disciple-making mission to get cluttered with lots of things to do. And most church leaders are very good at doing things. As a result, administration of programs replaces actual disciple making practices. As you look ahead to the next year, slow down and refresh your conviction for disciplemaking by looking to the Master himself.

How does a Jesus-centric disciplemaking conviction rescue you from a “program management” culture? Have you resigned to herding people through classes and events? Are you relying too much on better preaching? Or do you have a robust, disciple-making strategy built around life-on-life investment, like Jesus?

THE QUICK SUMMARY – Growing Up, by Robby Gallaty

Growing Up is a manual for making disciples.

It will answer the what, why, where, and how of discipleship. Underline it, write in the margins, interact with it, and meditate on it.

You are not learning this information for yourself only, although you will definitely benefit from it. You are learning for all the people you will disciple in the future. The gospel came to you because it was heading to someone else.

A SIMPLE SOLUTION

Like any journey, the discipleship journey requires you to take steps. Discipleship only occurs as you take the next steps of dependence on and obedience to Jesus.

Also like any journey, the discipleship journey requires you to take the first step in order to continue the journey.

Robby Gallaty outlines a walk with Jesus – discipleship – with a series of steps described below. They may seem simple – but keep in mind that even the longest, most complex journey you can imagine starts with a simple first step.

The six practices discussed below (C.L.O.S.E.R.) have proven to be irreplaceable in spiritual development. When these disciplines are pursued, the desire for going even deeper with God will be birthed in your soul.

Communicate – Knocking on Heaven’s Door

Instead of merely asking God to address your checklist of requests, have you focused on praying for things you have discerned that truly matter to him? God reveals more of Himself to you as you pray for the things that matter most to Him?

Learn – Mining for Gold

Our task when we open our Bibles is to arrive at the meaning God intended for the passage we are reading. Every genuine believer receives a wonderful Gift at the time of salvation – the Holy Spirit comes into us and dwells within our bodies. With the help of the Spirit, we can – without human intervention – understand the Bible for ourselves.

Obey – Follow the Leader

How do you make disciples? By teaching them to obey His commands. In order to do so, you must first know his Words yourself. You must get into the Word until the Word gets into you.

Store – An Eternal Investment Strategy

For the believer who truly desires to be a full-fledged follower of Christ, simply reading the Bible daily will not be enough. As a disciple, your goal is not merely to get into the Word, but to get the Word into you.

Evangelize – Show and Tell

Many people misunderstand our Christ-given responsibility in evangelism, thinking that success is determined by how many people we personally win to Christ. This is not the teaching of Scripture. Success in evangelism is in the sharing, not in the saving.

Renew – Hearing from God

A heart that obeys God is a heart that has first come to love Him. Our love for God grows as we know him. The better we know God, the more we love Him. The primary way God has revealed Himself to us is through his Word. A heart that knows God is a heart that has been transformed by the renewing of the mind through the study and application of good works.

Rob Gallaty, Growing Up

A NEXT STEP

How are you walking C.L.O.S.E.R. with God?

Communication

  • On a scale of one to ten, with ten being the highest, how would you rate your prayer life?
  • List three people who are far from God for whom you can pray over for the next three weeks. Follow up by meeting them over coffee or a meal to talk about their spiritual condition.

Learn

  • Have you ever had a difficult time understanding God’s Word to the point it wanted to make you quit reading it?

Obey

  • How does Jesus’ prayer in John 17 affect your life as a believer?
  • What are some areas of your life that need to be submitted to the Lordship of Christ?

Store

  • How is your life saturated with the Word of God?
  • List barriers that have prevented you from memorizing Scripture in the past. How will you overcome these barriers?

Evangelize

  • Think about you daily and weekly routine. “As you are going,” who can you share the gospel with?
  • List three friends, family members, or acquaintances who are unsaved. Commit to praying for God to open their hearts to hear the gospel. Then commit to sharing it with them.

Renew

  • How do you view the Word as spiritual nourishment to your soul?
  • Describe your pattern for reading the Bible over the last month.

Gather your leadership team and review the above questions together. Discuss your answers to each. Encourage open and honest conversation as it is highly likely that few if any of them have seen discipleship modeled well. After talking about your personal experiences, now reflect on where the average attender at your church may be. How does this experience in your personal and the team’s journey impact your design for discipleship congregation-wide? Using a large flip chart tablet, outline some ways to engage more people in this important discipleship conversation.

Excerpt taken from SUMS Remix 77-3, issued October 2017.


 

This is part of a weekly series posting excerpts from one of the most innovative content sources in the church world: SUMS Remix book excerpts for church leaders.

SUMS Remix takes a practical problem in the church and looks at it with three solutions; each solution is taken from a different book. Additionally, a practical action step is included with each solution.

As a church leader you get to scan relevant books based on practical tools and solutions to real ministry problems, not just by the cover of the book. Each post will have the edition number which shows the year and what number it is in the overall sequence. (SUMS Remix provides 26 issues per year, delivered every other week to your inbox). 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

VRcurator

VRcurator

Bob Adams is Auxano's Vision Room Curator. His background includes over 23 years as an associate/executive pastor as well as 8 years as the Lead Consultant for a church design build company. He joined Auxano in 2012.

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Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> I agree 100%, you can tell if a church is doing this it grows, if there's no growth there's poor leadership..
 
— Dennis Whiterock
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Great work Bubba! Its exciting to see how God has blessed your faithfulness over your lifetime into remarkable, fruitful, Kingdom expansion! Jesus DID say, "without Me you can do nothing!" (John 15:5). No surprise that He rewards "thick and thin" prayer with great fruitfulness! :)
 
— Mike Taylor
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I loved this presentation. It helped greatly as I organized an Outreach Ministry of The Shepherds Care. Thank you. Esther Callaham Mahgoube Emmanuel Pentecostal Church New Jersey
 
— Esther Mahgoube
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

A Case for Analog Disciple Making

Is digital on the way out? Is analog on the way in?

A new book by David Sax, The Revenge of Analog: Real Things and Why They Matter, focuses on recent movement away from digital technology and back toward “real things” like vinyl records, board games, hardcover books, and face-to-face education.

I’ve experienced this phenomenon. A few years ago, when I was riding the bus to work every day, nearly half the books I read were on my Kindle. Today, that number has plummeted to maybe 10 percent or less. I am back to reading print and enjoying the experience more than ever.

I am not alone. Last year, hardcover books outsold ebooks, something that would have been considered unthinkable a few years ago.

The Revenge of Analog‘s analysis goes beyond “nostalgia” for past possessions. According to Sax, we invest physical objects with significance. There is something about pulling a book down off the shelf and thumbing through all our notes that is irreplaceable by an ebook, no matter how many highlights we made.

To be clear, this book doesn’t claim that digital innovations will disappear, or that we will see a massive retreat from a digital future. But Sax does believe that in a digital world, certain physical objects become morevaluable, not less. In other words, the revenge of analog does not mean that ebooks will now go away. It means that print is not dead, nor will it die, and what is printed may matter more.

Analog Classrooms

The same goes for education. Sax points out the rise and fall of the MOOC–the Massive Online Open Courses–that began in 2008 and took off in 2012. Today, the MOOC phenomenon has receded, due partly to “dismally low completion rates for those who enrolled” and “mediocre achievement rates for the few who finished.” Some studies show that more than 90 percent of people who enrolled dropped out.

Sax believes the key to education is the teacher, and no matter how good your digital strategy is, the classroom experience cannot be fully replicated online. He writes:

“Teachers are the key to analog education’s past, present, and future, and no technology can or should replace them. Not because they have the most knowledge, but because without them, education is no more than facts passed back and forth. If you want facts, go read a book. If you want to learn, find a teacher.” (202)

Sax also points out the community aspect of a physical classroom, where everyone is learning something together.

“Analog education, which happened in classrooms between teachers and students, and between students and other students, was more than just the transfer of data. That was the basis. But what teachers did, and could only do in the flesh-and-blood, person-to-person environments we call schools, was to take that raw information and mold it into knowledge.” (203)

Analog Discipleship

I wonder what this refocus on flesh-and-blood engagement will mean for discipleship. We live in a time when it is easier than ever to access good content.

  • You can download podcasts or listen to great preachers from our era or previous eras.
  • You can subscribe to the Great Courses and walk through various subjects.
  • YouTube may be a wasteland of cat videos and movie clips, but it’s also a place where you can find lecture after lecture from some of the most eminent scholars in the world.
  • Without ever leaving your living room, you can read all the books you want from the ancient church fathers. You can find Puritan literature for free online. Dozens of books from last century’s writers, like G. K. Chesterton, are available on Kindle for less than a couple dollars.

Now, it is easy for people to have access to all of this knowledge and think that this is the path to discipleship. Watch the right content, download the right lecture, read the right Bible study, and you’ll grow as a Christian. It’s never been easier to get great content.

But you need more than good content to disciple you; you need godly Christians. While content from Christians may aid in your discipleship process, you need real-life flesh-and-blood, Spirit-filled Christiansaround you to help you become more like Jesus.

There is no such thing as digital-only discipleship. It’s all analog, because we are embodied people who long for real life community that goes beyond virtual hangouts. Furthermore, pursuing knowledge apart from relationship can become a vice instead of a virtue, the kind of knowledge that puffs up but does not edify.

Disciple-making is accomplished by modelers, not just messengers. We develop not merely through cognitive transfer, but also through witnessing the lives and choices of other disciples we encounter on our way. Perhaps this is the reason why the Old Testament emphasizes meditation and memorization of Scripture alongside conversations about the Law that take place in the daily rhythms of life.

The teachers who make the biggest difference on our lives are those who not only give us knowledge but who know us well enough to speak truth into the specifics of our lives, to give counsel from their vast experience and biblical storehouse. That’s why we can have confidence that analog discipleship isn’t going away any time soon. This is the one-on-one discipleship that builds up the church and changes the world.

Read more from Trevin.


 

Want to learn how to make stronger disciples in your church? Connect with an Auxano Navigator for more information.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Trevin Wax

Trevin Wax

My name is Trevin Wax. I am a follower of Jesus Christ. My wife is Corina, and we have two children: Timothy (7) and Julia (3). Currently, I serve the church by working at LifeWay Christian Resources as managing editor of The Gospel Project, a gospel-centered small group curriculum for all ages that focuses on the grand narrative of Scripture. I have been blogging regularly at Kingdom People since October 2006. I frequently contribute articles to other publications, such as Christianity Today. I also enjoy traveling and speaking at different churches and conferences. My first book, Holy Subversion: Allegiance to Christ in an Age of Rivals, was published by Crossway Books in January 2010. (Click here for excerpts and more information.) My second book, Counterfeit Gospels: Rediscovering the Good News in a World of False Hope(Moody Publishers) was released in April 2011.

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COMMENTS

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Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> I agree 100%, you can tell if a church is doing this it grows, if there's no growth there's poor leadership..
 
— Dennis Whiterock
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Great work Bubba! Its exciting to see how God has blessed your faithfulness over your lifetime into remarkable, fruitful, Kingdom expansion! Jesus DID say, "without Me you can do nothing!" (John 15:5). No surprise that He rewards "thick and thin" prayer with great fruitfulness! :)
 
— Mike Taylor
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I loved this presentation. It helped greatly as I organized an Outreach Ministry of The Shepherds Care. Thank you. Esther Callaham Mahgoube Emmanuel Pentecostal Church New Jersey
 
— Esther Mahgoube
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

How Thinking Can Change the Way You Think About Discipleship

If you are a disciple-maker, you should want people to think like you.

I realize that statement may come across as counter-cultural in our day. In our society, we praise non-conformity and consider expressing one’s own unique essence to be the purpose of life.

To say you want people to think like you is to cramp their style and squelch their originality. It is “indoctrination” in the negative sense of the word, a way of rubber-stamping your identity onto someone else instead of letting their uniqueness shine through.

But here, I’m afraid the non-conformist impulse in our culture clouds our vision so that we are unable to see a very important aspect of disciple-making.

Followers of Jesus are to be transformed by the renewing of their minds, demonstrate the mind of Christ, and discern, with biblical wisdom and guided by the Spirit, what it means to live faithfully in the 21st century. It follows, then, that our responsibility to those we disciple includes an element of getting them to reason a certain way.

3 Strands of Disciple-Making

1. Informing – What We Believe

Part of disciple-making is helping people understand what they believe. It includes the inculcation of information, the teaching of biblical facts and Christian doctrines.

2. Instructing – What We Do

Another part of disciple-making is helping people adopt the practices that make up the Christian life. We walk alongside others, modeling for them what it looks like to live the way of Christ.

3. Imitating – How We Reason

But there’s a third part of disciple-making that is necessary, something a full-orbed vision of “imitation” gives us. This strand refers to helping people reason like Christians who have been formed by “what we believe” and “what we do.” The imitation of reasoning is especially needed on issues where clear instructions are not present in Scripture.

The Missing Strand 

If you only focus on the first two elements (informing and instructing), then you wind up with people who are not fully equipped to respond to the conundrums they encounter in life.

What does your disciple do when he or she confronts an issue that isn’t resolved by the checklist of doctrines to believe, or the common practices of the Christian life?

Here is where your disciple needs biblical wisdom. The information of Bible doctrine and the instructions of Christian practice aren’t enough. Discernment is required. The believer must apply the wisdom of Scripture to a new situation and discern the way forward.

When the Apostle Paul told the Corinthians to imitate him, he was not telling them to join him on his missionary journeys. The context for his command comes within a section of the letter in which he was applying biblical wisdom to a new situation. Apparently, one of Paul’s goals was to help his disciples reason the way he did.

When Paul called others to imitate his Christian walk, he was saying more than simply “Take the same steps I do.” Paul wanted the people to follow the same reasoning process that led him to such actions. In this context, “Follow me as I follow Christ” means more than “do what I do.” It also means “think like I think, so you can reason with me to the same outcome of wise and faithful living.”

The Need for Biblical Reasoning 

So, back to the statement I kicked off this article with: Disciple-makers should want their disciples to think the way they do. It’s not enough to hope that they will believe the same things, or behave the same way; we want to see them reason forward as Christians.

Inculcating Christian doctrine and imitating Christian behavior only takes you so far. If that is all you strive for in discipleship, you may wind up with mindless mimicry instead of thoughtful imitation.

Discipleship includes helping people learn the “mind of Christ” (Phil 2:5). The mind of Christ helps us to respond to new circumstances with the humility and wisdom of the Savior who indwells us by His Spirit.

Imitation in the Christian life includes the cultivation of wisdom from within a biblical framework, wisdom that leads to the right decisions when the circumstances are difficult. Passing on the capability of wise reflection is an important aspect of discipleship. Ignoring this responsibility is disastrous for the future of the church.

> Read more from Trevin.


Learn more about disciple-making. Connect with an Auxano Navigator and start a conversation with our team.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Trevin Wax

Trevin Wax

My name is Trevin Wax. I am a follower of Jesus Christ. My wife is Corina, and we have two children: Timothy (7) and Julia (3). Currently, I serve the church by working at LifeWay Christian Resources as managing editor of The Gospel Project, a gospel-centered small group curriculum for all ages that focuses on the grand narrative of Scripture. I have been blogging regularly at Kingdom People since October 2006. I frequently contribute articles to other publications, such as Christianity Today. I also enjoy traveling and speaking at different churches and conferences. My first book, Holy Subversion: Allegiance to Christ in an Age of Rivals, was published by Crossway Books in January 2010. (Click here for excerpts and more information.) My second book, Counterfeit Gospels: Rediscovering the Good News in a World of False Hope(Moody Publishers) was released in April 2011.

See more articles by >

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Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> I agree 100%, you can tell if a church is doing this it grows, if there's no growth there's poor leadership..
 
— Dennis Whiterock
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Great work Bubba! Its exciting to see how God has blessed your faithfulness over your lifetime into remarkable, fruitful, Kingdom expansion! Jesus DID say, "without Me you can do nothing!" (John 15:5). No surprise that He rewards "thick and thin" prayer with great fruitfulness! :)
 
— Mike Taylor
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I loved this presentation. It helped greatly as I organized an Outreach Ministry of The Shepherds Care. Thank you. Esther Callaham Mahgoube Emmanuel Pentecostal Church New Jersey
 
— Esther Mahgoube
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.