There are many things that churches can do but I believe that discipling people is the greatest investment a church can undertake. Although missions, evangelism, prayer etc. are all elements within a disciple’s life, they all used in discipling a person in the way of Jesus. Here are a few reasons why this is so vitally important.
It’s a command!
Perhaps the most fundamental and basic reason for making disciples is that it is a clear directive from Jesus Himself! Before leaving the planet, Jesus commissioned His disciples to go and make disciples, teaching others the very things they learned over the last few years of travel with Jesus. This command was not for Jesus’ earthly followers alone but for us also. We are to be disciple-makers in simple obedience. Disciples are obedient…that’s what makes them disciples.
It connects people to God’s ways!
Discipleship is also vitally important because it’s the way that people learn the will and ways of God. Sadly our culture has done a poor job of maintaining apprenticeships and passing on the baton to future leaders in many vocations. In church life, we cannot afford to fail in this way. We must undertake discipleship much more seriously, lest this generation grows up not knowing God.
It connects people in learning together!
Making disciples is also important because it teaches both involved in the discipleship relationship. Regardless of who may be older or wiser, in a discipleship setting each person learns and grows in faith, maturity, and knowledge. A true discipleship relationship is not simply about one person teaching another as much as it is about sharing life together and learning from each other. Such a relationship is mutually beneficial.
It brings the body of Christ together!
Finally making disciples is crucial because when we don’t make disciples we fail to engage in the full expression of Christ. Through disciple making, all the body of Christ is able to come together and exercise their varying gifts within the context of loving relationships. People are also able to share their burdens, struggles and pain within those same bonds. Discipleship is not only the way we mentor, coach and teach the way of Jesus it is the way we live like Jesus. Jesus chose disciples, people who not only learned from Him but people with whom He shared life . He cried with them, laughed with them and shared intimate moments of love and life that not everyone else was privy. Jesus’ disciples ultimately became His family.
As we move into this new year, may I encourage you to become involved in some discipleship relationships with people older and younger than yourself. This practice, art form and teaching method will not only prove to be life-altering but it could also change the world. Just ask Jesus’ disciples.