There are two simple questions any Christian can use to assess their obedience to Christ and the effectiveness of their ministry:

  1. Who is discipling you?
  2. Who are you discipling?

If you cannot answer the first question, you are likely not being discipled. Unless you are in their inner circle, this is not your pastor nor your Sunday School teacher. Making disciples requires relationship.

It is impossible to underestimate the impact a disciple maker can have on a person’s life (mentor is the secular term). Much of God’s grace flows down the channels of authority He has assigned for every Christian. This is not limited to teaching, counseling, etc. The life of Christ is miraculously transmitted through the disciple making relationship (e.g., faith, courage, and peace).

The Great Commission is God’s prescription for our participation in the advancement of His kingdom. Finding those that He has designated for our spiritual apprenticeship is vital to our inclusion in His story. Furthermore, it is impossible to make disciples without first being made.

Regrettably, making disciples has fallen out of favor in the church that resides here in America. Consequently, you may have to ask someone to disciple you. Before you do, ask God to identify that person. He loves talking with His children about such things.

Failure regarding our second question is a strong sign of spiritual disobedience. This is a hard judgment. It is also fair, grounded in truth, and offered in love.

And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…” Matthew 28:18-19

Perhaps we have lost respect for the Great Commission because we fail to appreciate the claim behind it. The One Who has been given all authority in heaven and earth has commissioned His followers to make more followers. How could anyone that calls Him Lord refuse such a commission?

Those in leadership should ask these questions “down” the channel of authority entrusted to them – to determine how many “levels” know the answers. Depth is not only more important than breadth, it ultimately creates the breadth that is most profitable to the kingdom of God.

A Short Word About Disciples and Disciple Making

It is surprising how many converts to Christianity believe that a “disciple” is a higher grade of Christian; and only disciples are commissioned to make more of themselves. Christianity is not a caste system. The Scriptures simply do not support such a ludicrous notion. If you are not a disciple of Christ, you are not His.

It seems that many in the church (here in America) have a limited/warped idea about making disciples. Disciple making is not spending ninety minutes a week studying a book (or the Holy Bible) with someone. It is not taking someone on a mission trip. It is not even “leading someone to Christ”.

Disciple making includes these things, but it is not defined by them. Jesus defined disciple making by the relationship He nurtured with His disciples. Disciple making is a lifestyle, not a program or activity. It is perhaps the greatest expression of Christ’s life in His disciples.

Education and maturity are not prerequisites for disciple making (though they certainly help). A day-old Christian can disciple another in the day’s worth that they know. Every Christian can encourage, exhort, and comfort.

In closing, let me encourage you that God has placed desires in the heart of every Christian – to be made a disciple and to be a maker of them. Ask Him to stir that desire into a passion. Ask Him to identify His disciple maker for you. Ask Him to show you those you are to disciple. He loves taking with His children.

Humbly yours and forever His,