Part of the brilliance of Jesus’ disciple-making was the simplicity of his approach. Keeping things simple actually takes more effort and intention, since life and this world always moves toward chaos. Since we don’t get extra points for making things complex, it’s important that we have a simple framework to guide us.
Here is a two-step framework you can apply anytime and anywhere to help keep your disciple-making on point:
- ASSESS — Know where you are, then
- ACT — Know what to do.
1 – ASSESS — Know Where You Are
If you’re a follower of Jesus, at any point in time you’ll be in one of two situations:
A. You’re actively discipling someone, or
B. You’re not actively discipling someone
Let’s go in reverse order and start with situation B: Not actively discipling someone. If you find yourself here, your next step is pretty straightforward and you can move to step 2: Act. More on this in a moment…
If you’re in situation A: Actively discipling someone, this is great! But before we just check a box and move on, you should consider the nature of your relationship(s).
For instance, does the person you’re discipling know they’re being discipled (with the goal of making more disciples)? Or are you discipling a whole group of people at the same time, say 5-10 or more?
The hard truth on either of these is that if the person(s) you’re discipling doesn’t eventually make other disciples, then you’re not really discipling them. Meaning: What you’re calling discipleship may not be discipleship at all.
The goal in making a disciple is to equip them to make another disciple—without being dependent upon you. If your activity A) isn’t appropriately targeted and specific, or B) is spread too thin, then the fruit of that activity won’t result in an equipped, disciple-making disciple.
2 – ACT — Know What to Do
If you ARE actively discipling someone, how are you equipping them? What do they need to be a capable disciple-maker? Since disciple-making is an action-based process (instead of knowledge-based), you’ll need to show them how to make disciples, not just tell them. Consider…
- What can I do that my disciple can’t?
- What part(s) of making a disciple have I not modeled for them yet?
- What part(s) have I modeled that they aren’t replicating in their life?
- Are they actively trying to make a disciple? Why or why not?
- Do I know what to model for them?
- What help do I need from others before I can model for my disciple?
The answers to those questions will reveal what you need to act on. There is a focused urgency to disciple-making we must always keep in place: We must continue to move forward and resist complacency or distraction.
If you’re NOT actively discipling someone, what are you doing to find him/her? Consider …
- How are you praying about this?
- Who is the Lord bringing into your circle of influence?
- How are you actively engaging with others?
- How are you intentionally having spiritual conversations with people (sharing your story, sharing God’s story, etc.), and what can you do to improve them?
- Where and how are you prayer walking?
- What are you changing about your routines to make new connections?
- Who around you is in need or is being under-served by society or even other church ministries?
- What groups of people near you that are from ethnic groups that are unengaged/unreached?
Of course, finding someone to disciple is not a human-driven process. God is sovereignly working ahead of us in the lives of the people he will connect us with. However, we have our role to play, and all of the above steps should be taken in faith, trusting that God is already doing his part to connect you with someone to disciple.
ASSESS, Then ACT
If we understand our situation and know what steps to take, it’s much easier to be decisive and focused:
- If you have a disciple, equip them until they’re making another disciple.
- If you don’t have a disciple, take action to find one.
It’s really just that simple.