A disciple multiplies. Of all the marks of a disciple at Stonegate, I struggle with this one the most. I have a million and one excuses for this, some founded and others not so much; but, I can tell you this — I never experienced or attempted real discipleship until my early 30s.
As I begin to write, I reach out to a friend for prayer. She responds with encouragement, solidarity, and an empowering reminder from 2 Corinthians 12:9 where the Apostle Paul implores us to “boast all the more gladly of… [our] weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon [me].”
If you search for resources on multiplication and discipleship, you’ll find many incredible resources…and if you’re like me, reading these can reinforce that feeling of failure in this area. But instead of trying to escape that feeling, I feel compelled to stay in 2 Corinthians, to write from a place of utter weakness and failure…all while trusting that Christ’s power will rest upon me. And, I’d like to propose, that it is from this posture of weakness that all discipleship should occur.
DISCIPLE MAKERS KNOW JESUS
As I researched this topic, most of what I found focused on strategies. Perhaps this is why many of us never really attempt to make disciples. The strategy, the techniques, the methods all begin to feel at the very least overwhelming, and at the most disingenuous.
But when I look at the twelve disciples — the original missionaries, the original church planters, the original multipliers — I see men who made it their mission to intimately know Jesus. Their “method” was simple: know Jesus and tell others so they could know him too. They did this by spending all of their time with him. They listened to him, they asked questions of him, they confided in him, they did life with him. And while we are no longer afforded the physical proximity to Jesus that the original twelve had, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit gives us the same access.
DISCIPLE MAKERS BECOME MORE LIKE JESUS
At Stonegate we say —
A disciple is someone who is becoming more like Jesus in all of life through the power of the spirit.
If disciple makers are first and foremost disciples of Jesus, the aim should never be more complicated than simply becoming like Him. But this becoming doesn’t come from our drive or inner strength, this becoming happens when, in our weakness, we bring nothing to the table. Our nothing is filled with the everything of Christ. Remember -- “In our weakness, Christ’s power is perfected.”
DISCIPLE MAKERS POINT TO JESUS
If disciple makers are knowing Jesus, and becoming more like him, then it will be natural to point to him. John the Baptist is one of the best examples of this. In Matthew 3:11 John is baptizing people, but he never assumes center stage. His actions and words continually point to the man “whose sandals… [he is] not worthy to carry.”
When we remember that disciple making has very little to do with us, and everything to do with Jesus, things become simple. Disciple makers need not worry about affluence or influence, strategy or smarts, when they know the Messiah. Disciple makers don’t need to have all of the answers, when they know “the way and the truth and the life” (John 14:6).
It’s worth mentioning that none of these things can exist on their own. One cannot become more like Jesus if they do not know him. One cannot point back to a man who they have no desire to imitate. These pieces are intricately woven together to create a life that aims to multiply oneself, not out of selfish ambition or vain motivation; but instead, out of a deep desire to lead others to know him, become more like him, and point to him.
As disciple makers we can know Jesus, become like him, and point to him all while embracing our weakness. We can boast in our weakness knowing that the power of the Great I AM rests upon us when we do so.
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