The last commandment Jesus gave His followers before leaving earth and sending the Holy Spirit was to “go” and make disciples. As Southern Baptist we seem to do a great job of going or sending, but the command is not about “going.” The command from Jesus is about “making” disciples. Over the past few years of researching this command, I have discovered that most people are not being obedient to this command simply because they do not know how to disciple another person. As the adult discipleship coordinator for the South Fork Assoc., I would like to pass along what I have learned through my research to other followers of Jesus.
Based on my research there are different levels of commitment involved in just how deep a person would like to go into discipleship. Here are some options:
1) The least amount of commitment/involvement deals with discipling others from the pulpit. There are a few things a preacher/pastor can do differently to help his listener glean more from the message.
2) The next level of commitment would be making a few changes in how a Sunday School class or Life Group is organized. The shifts involve making the lesson material personal, setting a weekly goal of accountability to a group within the group and making the class/group missional in their purpose.
3) The deepest level of discipleship involves Discipleship groups (D-Groups). These are small gender specific groups of either 3 to 5 men or women. They learn to do an inductive Bible study of either a Bible reading plan or book of the Bible. The inductive Bible study teaches a person how to feed themselves through the Word of God over a period of time. This pushes a person to become a life-long learner who can then disciple others. In these groups, there is Scripture memorization, accountability to what Scripture is teaching and accountability to prayer and evangelism. This level of discipleship produces leaders. In my personal experience over the past three years of following this program, this level is the most fruitful for the overall body of Christ.
There are different ways to contextualize each level to any size church body. Also, in each level there are multiple resources that can be used to make this a reality for any church. I am sure we all would love to see more people functioning at a higher level of spiritual discipline and encouraging spiritual growth. Please contact me if I can help you in any way in the area of discipleship – (704) 530-4699.
Dr. Robert E. Wise
North Brook Baptist Church