Different Methods of Disciples

 
The Master Plan of Evangelism
Robert Coleman
 

1.    Selection - people were his method.   Luke 6:13.  Jesus believed that
       people should reach other people.  He could have used an exclusive
       barrage of miracles, or he could have brought everything to conclusion
       while on earth.  Instead he chose common men and women like us to
       reach the world.  This demonstrates not only his love for us, but also his
       confidence in us.
 
2.    Association - he stayed with them.  Matthew 28:20.  With the first
       disciples, the essence of Jesus training meant just letting his disciples
       follow him.  He drew them close to himself, becoming his own school
       and curriculum.
 
3.    Consecration - he required obedience.  Matthew 11:29.  Jesus
       expected his disciples to obey him.  He didn't require them to be smart,
       but he wanted them to be loyal - to the extent that obeying him became
       the distinguishing mark they were known by.  "Disciples" meant they
       were the Master's "learners" or pupils.  Later Jesus' disciples became
       known as "Christians" (Acts 11:26), a fitting description of obedient
       followers who took on the character of their leader.
 
4.    Impartation - he gave himself away.  John 20:22.  Jesus gave his
       disciples everything: what the Father had given him (John 15:5); his
       peace (John 16:33); his joy (John 15:11); the keys to his kingdom
       (Matthew 16:19); and his own glory (John 17:22, 24).  He withheld
       nothing, not even his life.
 
5.    Demonstration - he showed them how to live.  John 13:15.  Jesus
       showed the disciples how to pray, study, and relate to others.  More
       than twenty times the Gospels recount Jesus' practice of prayer.  He
       taught the disciples about the use of Scripture by extensively using
       words from the Old Testament.  As the disciples saw Jesus interact with
       Nicodemus, the woman at the well, the rich young ruler, and many
       others, Jesus showed them how to talk to and how to treat others.
 
6.    Delegation - he assigned them work.  Matthew 4:19.  From day
       one,  Jesus prepared his disciples to take over the mission.  He
       gradually turned over responsibility, sending out the seventy
       (Matthew 10:1- 42) and giving extensive instructions to the Twelve
       (Luke 10:1-20). He told the disciples to follow his methods, to expect
       hardships, and to go out in pairs. Following his resurrection, he clearly
       gave the disciples the responsibility to take the gospel to the entire
       world (Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 1:8).
 
7.    Supervision - he kept checking on them.  Matthew 8:17.  When
       Jesus gave the disciples work to do, he followed up.  He listened to
       their reports and blessed them.  When he was with the disciples,
       he spent time helping them understand the reason for a previous action
       or preparing them for a new experience.  He used questions,
       illustrations,  warnings, and admonitions to teach the disciples what they
       needed to know to reach the world.
 
8.     Reproduction - he expected them to reproduce.  John 15:16.
        Jesus told the disciples to pray for workers (Matthew 9:36-38), and he
        called them to teach everyone to obey his teaching (Matthew 28:20).  
        He required the costly elements of leadership development and
        reproduction, and expected the disciples to reproduce by finding other
        disciples who would also follow Jesus.
 

The Diamond of Discipleship
 
Rick Warren's popular book The Purpose Driven Life uses the simple illustration of a baseball diamond to capture the idea that spiritual progress is a journey.  Thousands of churches have adopted and adapted this "Life Development Process."   It looks like this:
  • First base or Class 101: Committed to membership - the process of knowing Christ
  • Second base or Class 201: Committed to maturity - the process of growing in Christ
  • Third base or Class 301: Committed to ministry - the process of serving Christ
  • Home plate or Class 401: Committed to missions - the process of sharing Christ


Warren sees spiritual growth as a process that occurs over time in the context of community.  The diamond gives church leaders practical handles, providing easy-to-understand concepts they can use to rally leaders and the whole congregation.

 

 
The Complete Book of Discipleship
by Bill Hull

Jesus' Model for Developing Followers

In his classic 1871 book, The training of the Twelve, A. B. Bruce showed how Jesus gradually took his disciples through a process that infused them with the qualities that made them trustworthy to be carriers of the gospel.  Bruce said, "The twelve arrived at their final intimate relation to Jesus only by degrees, three stages in the history of their fellowship with him being distinguishable.  Those three stages were "come and see," come and follow me, and come and be with me."
 
I've taken Bruce's three phases and added a fourth to show how the disciples finished their training and moved on to carry out their mission.  I don't intend for the four phases of how Jesus trained his followers to be a systematic theology or for them to redefine the purpose of the Gospels.  Instead these observations come from asking the question, Did Jesus use a specific design or process for developing his most faithful followers?
 
1.    "Come and see" occurred during a four or five month period when
       Jesus introduced a group of disciples to the nature of himself and
       ministry.John 1:35 - 4:46
 
2.    "Come and follow me" was a ten month period when the five, plus
       others, temporarily left their professions to travel with Jesus.  Matthew
       4:19 and Mark 1:16 - 18
 
3.    "Come and be with me" lasted nearly twenty months.  During that
       time, Jesus concentrated on the Twelve he called to be with him so
       they could go out and preach.  Mark 3:13 - 14
 
4.    "Remain in me" describes the most dramatic change the disciples
       underwent.  Jesus was leaving and they would begin relating to him
       through the Holy Spirit and through the church.  This phase began in
       the Upper Room and continues into the present.  John 15:5, 7
 
 
Making Kingdom Disciples
Charles H. Dunahoo

Three Inadequate Approaches
 
For the sake of clarity, I will say there are three main approaches being used today under the rubric of making disciples (see figure 1.2).  I do not intend to communicate that the three approaches are wrong, but merely reductionistic and incomplete.
 
Figure 1.2. Models for Disciple Making
APPROACH
Model 1:
Program Based
People Centered
FOCUS: Informational/content
CONTEXT:  Person in community setting (large group)
ORIENTATION:  Program, Activity
CHARACTERISTICS: Fosters "Christian Ghetto"
 
APPROACH
Model 2:
Individual
FOCUS: Formational/relationships
CONTEXT:  Person to person, one on one
ORIENTATION:  Felt Needs
CHARACTERISTICS:  Checklist for spiritual growth; may occur apart
                                      from church membership
 
APPROACH
Model 3:
Small Group
FOCUS: Formational/relationships
CONTEXT:  Person in small group
ORIENTATION:  Society
CHARACTERISTICS:  Focuses on formation in a small-group setting;
                                      may tend to down play the role of corporate worship
 
APPROACH
Model 4:
Kingdom
God Centered
FOCUS: Transformational (includes information and formation)
               Content
               Relationships
               Application
               Service and ministry
CONTEXT:  Any or all of the above
ORIENTATION:   Kingdom
CHARACTERISTICS:  Total transformation of life and thought; focuses
                                      on the big picture of God and is kingdom