Jesus tells us in Matthew 28:19-20 (NIV), “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Unfortunately, most Christians have never been discipled, making it extremely difficult to be a disciple-maker. Most pastors have never been discipled either, which explains why most churches do not even have discipleship on their radar. As a result, precious few obey our Lord’s command to make disciples, which causes me to stop and ask a couple of crucial questions.
The first obvious question is, WHY don’t we do this? The second question is, HOW do we make disciples?
Many of the discipleship principles are caught more than taught.
Many of the discipleship principles are caught more than taught. People catch life lessons from others who live their lives transparently, walking slowly enough for someone else to see and follow them. Jesus spent fourteen to sixteen hours a day for three years with twelve men, who at the end of their time together scattered when Jesus needed them the most. It appeared not one of them caught what Jesus had taught. It was on the Mount of Transfiguration, just before his ascension in John 20:22, when the game-changer occurred! John says, “And with that, he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”
It is so subtle most have skipped over this miraculous moment and have continued living life out of their head-knowledge, instead of the Spirit-given revelation only God offers. The game-changer that happened that day occurred when Jesus breathed on them, and they received the Holy Spirit. It was the Holy Spirit, the very presence of God, who taught the disciples the truth. John 14:26 says, “But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.
The primary role of a disciple-maker is to walk slowly and transparently, long enough for others to learn how to hear and recognize the voice of the Holy Spirit. Then the Holy Spirit indeed leads you into all truth as you read, learn, and obey his written and living Word. You then have a brother who you can walk through life with, learn from, and who you KNOW will be there when you need him the most. He will continue to help you in your spiritual journey. Becoming a disciple or making a disciple is impossible without the Holy Spirit comforting, guiding, and teaching you all along the way. You will still need another brother to walk with even though you have learned to listen and obey the Holy Spirit.
Let us look at the specific format I have used for years to disciple men. First, it is more efficient to begin the day early over coffee or breakfast, discipling one-on-one with another man. The best fruit has come out of the closeness of a one-on-one relationship. If you meet with more than one man simultaneously, it is challenging for both men to share freely. Therefore, one-on-one discipleship has worked best for me. We meet for an hour, with the hour split up into four fifteen-minute segments.
If you meet with more than one man simultaneously, it is challenging for both men to share freely.
During the first segment, I ask this question, “How was your week last week?” Then I quietly allow him to share about his week. If you listen carefully, God will give you insights into your brother’s spiritual journey as he shares about his week. He does not get the entire 15 minutes, only about seven and a half minutes; then you share about your week. Thoughts shared may be about personal life, business, or church life. It may be about family or anything else. Try not to interrupt while he is speaking because great learning occurs as you practice great listening.
The second segment is a brief ten-minute teaching on one of the foundational building blocks such as faith, temptation, giving, or forgiveness. I have a list of twenty topics in my PowerPoint that I try to cover over a year. Always allow time for Q & A as this is vital in the learning process.
During the third segment, I ask, “What are you hearing in your quiet time with God?” I have encouraged each man to read the Bible every day and sit quietly with a notepad and pen close by, writing down any thoughts that come to mind or any scripture that seems to jump off the page. It is imperative to write down those thoughts throughout the week because you will never remember them if you do not write them down.
In the fourth and final segment, we pray for each other before leaving, asking how we can pray about anything else for each other throughout the following week. Relationships are built around prayer. A bond takes place as the result of faithful intercession. For that reason, it is imperative men disciple men and women disciple women. You should never bond with someone of the opposite sex, except your wife, thereby making yourself vulnerable to the enemy’s temptation.
If you are interested in learning more about discipleship with Boe Parrish, check out these resources below!
Discipleship 101 Powerpoint:
Boe's Interview about Discipleship 101 with W.A.
For the past forty-plus years, Ernest “Boe” Parrish has invested his life building relationships with people. With over forty years of experience as a business executive, minister, and published author, Parrish places the highest priority on relationships. He has learned there are two times in life when others need you: when they need you and when they need you. Married to his college sweetheart, Nancy, for forty-three years, Parrish has three beautiful daughters, three sons-in-law, and four perfect grandchildren.