Different Methods of Disciples
The Master Plan of Evangelism
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
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
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
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
CONTEXT: Person in community setting (large group)
ORIENTATION: Program, Activity
CHARACTERISTICS: Fosters "Christian Ghetto"
CONTEXT: Person to person, one on one
ORIENTATION: Felt Needs
CHARACTERISTICS: Checklist for spiritual growth; may occur apart
from church membership
CONTEXT: Person in small group
CHARACTERISTICS: Focuses on formation in a small-group setting;
may tend to down play the role of corporate worship
FOCUS: Transformational (includes information and formation)
Service and ministry
CONTEXT: Any or all of the above
CHARACTERISTICS: Total transformation of life and thought; focuses
on the big picture of God and is kingdom