9 Ways to Uncomplicate the Discipleship Process

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” -Leonardo da Vinci

Discipleship is at the heart of the church’s existence. We help unbelievers move to a point of belief and then to maturity. The maturity of the believer includes the making of other disciples. As many have put it, we are to be disciple making disciple makers. But, because we are humans who like systems, we tend to complicate the process. Here are a few principles to keep discipleship simple.

1. Biblically. The centerpiece of discipleship is God, not us. Using His self-revelaton as the pivot point for disciple making will keep us trained on God’s kingdom rather than our comfort.

2. Prayerfully. Focus the new disciple on a powerful prayer life and you will set them in the right direction. They need to see and learn why prayer matters.

3. Quickly. We need to move more quickly through discipling people rather than belaboring a process. It is easily accomplished if you will remove all the parts of your church process that are window dressing rather than ministry.

4. Urgently. The world is filled with people who are dying in their sin. The church is filled with Christians who are wallowing in spiritual infancy. The church simply has no time to dawdle. We need to live with and infuse a sense of urgency about the task of evangelizing the lost.

5. Relationally. Discipleship delivers content but that does not make it a sterile academic process. We are to personally engage with those who need to grow. Discipleship happens best with friends.

6. Spontaneously. Waiting for the right moment to start a process often means losing time with people’s real lives. Make discipleship something that can happen at any time. But that will mean that the heart and mind is prepared.

7. Methodically. Being spontaneous does not eliminate having a method. Discipleship needs to have a target to which it is aiming. Set the goal of the process and drive people toward it.

8. Passionately. To make disciples is the last command Jesus left us before the ascension. We must regularly test our hearts as to what is our priority. It should be increasing the number and the maturity of those who follow Jesus.

9. Naturally. Discipleship is not weird. It is the way that we put the world right. The gospel is the only thing that makes life make sense. Set your desires toward making disciples and then do it as the normal work of your life.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Philip Nation

Philip Nation

I serve as the pastor at First Baptist Church of Bradenton, Florida and frequently speak at churches and conferences. I earned a Master of Divinity from Beeson Divinity School and a Doctor of Ministry from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. In 2010-2012, I was the national spokesperson for the Back to Church Sunday campaign from Outreach. Over the years, I’ve served as a pastor, minister of education, and a church planter. In 2016, I published Habits for Our Holiness: How the Spiritual Disciplines Grow Us Up, Draw Us Together, and Send Us Out with Moody Publishers. I’ve coauthored two other books: Compelled: Living the Mission of God and Transformational Discipleship: How People Really Grow. I was also the general editor of The Mission of God Study Bible. Along the way, I have written the small-group studies Storm Shelter: Psalms of God’s Embrace, Compelled by Love: The Journey to Missional Living and Live in the Word, plus contributed to The Great Commission Resurgence: Fulfilling God’s Mandate in Our Lifetime.

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COMMENTS

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Recent Comments
If someone wants entertainment they're going to the wrong place. Church is not a place for entertainment...or in my opinion a barrage of coffee and donuts. Why are churches today bringing the world INTO them? Then there's the thing with children...age appropriate??? These little guys can pick stuff up in service. Besides Jesus said Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven. Mt. 19:14.
 
— Laurie
 
I love the intentionality here as well as the challenge to look at the data. That's missing so many times. I would like to offer a contrarian's take. Church members and regular attenders have so many ways to get information: Announcements, bulletins, social channels, relationships, and email being among the options. But brand new people are likely going to check out the website and that's it. It might be wiser for churches with limited time and resources to focus their website almost exclusively to guests. This group of people isn't looking for a calendar of events but wants to know about regular programs. They probably aren't interested in watching all of the messages but instead may want to preview one of the services. For the times we need church members to go to websites (sign up for camp, join a group, etc), we're probably better off designing and promoting a specific page rather than cluttering up the homepage.
 
— Michael Lukaszewski (@mlukaszewski)
 
A great question! Unfortunately, the Church Unique Kit is no longer available in print form. We are working on revising it and updating it into an online experience, but that project is at least six months out. An alternative is to come to an upcoming certification class. There is one May 15-18 in Houston, and October 23-26 in Atlanta.
 
— VRcurator
 

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