It wasn’t until after my first year of college that I was truly saved.
You’re probably thinking, what does that mean, “truly saved?” Well, when I was seven, I was at a revival with my sister and my grandparents. A few of the kids were going down to the front to be saved by the preacher. I didn’t understand what it meant, but I knew I didn’t want to be left out.
The preacher asked us all to bow our heads and pray this prayer by repeating after him. I knew about Jesus and that he was the Son of God, but I never really thought I was bad enough to be one of thosepeople that would go to hell.
There was never a time where I recognized my sin for what it really was until 2002. It was at that time I knew I needed to be saved. Everything the preacher was saying was aimed right at me. I began sobbing so deeply I couldn’t control it. I started to step out into the aisle and my brother just kept whispering, “What are you doing?”
But I couldn’t stop. I have no idea if I ran down that aisle or walked as fast as my mom does in Wal-Mart, but I was there and begging God for salvation. I was saved, baptized into the church, and then . . . . that was it.
I had a deep desire to learn about God, but nothing happened. If you know me, you would say I was super outgoing and that I never meet a stranger. But because I knew so little about Christianity, I was intimidated by church and wouldn’t reach out for help.
But no one else did either. Oh, how I wish someone had reached out to me and said,
“Now that you’re saved, let me teach you.”
“Come to my Sunday school class.”
“Let’s meet for coffee. I want to help you learn and answer questions you might have about Scripture.”
Bottom line, it was up to me to learn, and I was failing. But what I needed was discipleship.
They say you’re supposed to be to someone else what you always needed. So after years of running from the Lord, deciding what I wanted to believe and not believe, I surrendered to God’s truth. I was ready to learn and take responsibility.
I had a lot of catching up to do. I was a disciple and I needed to be a disciple-maker.
So what is discipleship? Who is a disciple? Who is a disciple-maker? What do they teach?
You need this just as much as I did.
Matthew 28:18-20: “And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”
The disciples of Jesus Christ had come to see their risen Savior. He appeared to them on the mountain and left them with one last commandment:
One job – Discipleship.
He came to this earth to be an example for us; Jesus showed us how to live, what to say, what to do. In every detail, he led with his actions.
His disciples knew and believed he was Messiah, the very Son of God. They listened and watched and when they didn’t understand something, they weren’t afraid to ask.
Jesus had built a relationship with them. They felt comfortable reaching out when they were confused. With his last words, Jesus gave these men a commission: the Great Commission.
He opened by saying, “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.” This was reassurance that he was of God and was God and that no other thing imaginable could be more important than what he was telling them to do.
Next he said, “Go.”
Go where? Derived from the Greek word “poreuō”, which means, “to continue on one’s journey, to travel. It has been translated, “as you are going”. So here, we see the commandment to “Go”, to “take action”.
And as you are going, as you continue on your journey, here is what you are to do – “teach.” Which means to be a disciple and to make a disciple.
So we know where to go, we know we are to teach, but now, who are we supposed to teach?
Scripture says, “all nations.” This means all people. Not just the ones we pick and choose, the ones who look worthy, or who we think will be a good addition to our ministry at church.
Once we have taught them who Jesus is and they have been saved, we are to baptize them and begin discipleship: “Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.”
Now we know where to go, who to teach and what to teach. But, doubts flood your mind. Questions are already swirling so fast you are getting dizzy.
What if I don’t know enough?
What if I mess up?
What if I don’t know the right words to say?
Jesus already knew those would be the fears of his twelve disciples . . . and of those in the future. He reassured them with his last words: “and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”
As Paul said in Romans 8:31, “What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?” We have nothing to fear in discipleship.
I’ve actually found that I learn and retain information better if I have to teach it. Now, the question in your mind is, “So how do I begin?” We make discipleship way harder than it is. Just follow Jesus’ example.
Here are seven simple steps to follow for discipleship.
- Pray – Ask God to first make you a good disciple and, when he is ready, to send you the one he desires for you to work with.
- Study – While you wait, read and study Scripture as if you were going to teach it. Start with something foundational, such as the gospel, and build from there.
- Don’t force it – Sometimes the one you want to disciple so badly isn’t the one the Lord has intended for you. Wait on God. Believe me, I know.
- Once you’ve found the who and studied the what, line up the other details such as the when and the where.
- Gather Supplies – You’ll want to make sure to have your Bible, notebook, pens, and other resource materials. Faith Bible Institute has a great resource, “10 Simple Steps through the Bible” by Dr. John Yates that makes it easy to see the whole picture and how it all fits together. Also, if you have a chance to enroll in FBI, it’s incredible!
- Be relational, not just relatable. You don’t have to be exactly like the people you disciple. Sure, we can relate in some areas, and that’s part of the fun in building a friendship. But your differences can also be beneficial and useful! As you begin to connect, recognize the gifts you each have.
- Have Snacks – Yes, I went there. In a deep discussion about discipleship, you must have food. You focus better when you aren’t hungry. Jesus used food as a teaching tool all the time!
So now you’re ready! Don’t feel like you are too young, too old, too inexperienced, etc. The Lord is with you!
“Lord, I know I have been saved for a purpose. In a world full of distractions, lies and deception, I know your Word is true and I want others to know the truth. I cannot do this on my own, but with your grace and guidance, I am willing to obey. As I go, let your Word be a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path. Show me the one you wish for me to disciple and give me the boldness to step out in faith and do what you’ve commanded. Amen.”