One question I’m often asked when talking with church leaders is, “How can I disciple someone”? The reality is that there are many ways. There isn’t one answer that applies to every situation across the board, but there may be one solution for your specific need. There isn’t a formula we must follow to get it right, but there is a blueprint we can look to in order to make good strides forward in our discipleship ministries.
Before we go any farther, please allow me to say one thing. There is no finish line in discipleship. It’s a revolving process; it never ends. We exist to make disciples who make disciples. And that’s the pattern Paul lays out for us in 2 Timothy 2:2:
What you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, commit to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.
That being said, there are many different ways we can disciple others effectively.
- One-to-many. This can be accomplished in many forms, but the two most usual cases are through small groups and corporate worship. Corporate worship is where most people who come into your church begin their journey. They listen to the pastor’s sermon and determine whether or not they want to become involved in a small group after that. So it’s not a stretch to assume that the pastor is the first glimpse of whether or not a church is a church that makes discipleship a priority. Small groups are more intimate than corporate worship and allow people to connect to others on a more micro level. If your small group is large like mine, consider offering smaller small groups that meet once per month with each other. Rotate those groups three or four times per year.
- One-to-few. In this medium, we are narrowing our size and scope just a bit from corporate worship and small groups. Discipleship groups have been making a surge in many churches over the past few years. The idea here is a group of four or five people. Men should be with men and women should be with women. Don’t mix genders; it doesn’t work for a group this size. These groups meet weekly for 12 to 18 months and walk through the Bible with each other, memorize Scripture, hold each other accountable, and challenge each other to grow and mature as a disciple.
- One-on-one. This is probably what we all think of first when we think of a discipleship relationship. And it’s the most intimate form of discipleship. A mature believer sits down and mentors a new or spiritually immature believer. The idea here is to pour 100% into the person you are discipling. Meet weekly. Walk through the Bible and a discipleship resource with one another. Challenge each other. Learn from each other. Hold each other accountable. And grow with each other.
When the sheep in your church are discipled, you will start seeing something glorious take place. Those disciples will start to disciple others. Just like we saw earlier in 2 Timothy 2:2, discipleship is replicable. The process repeats itself over and over and over. So if you’re wondering where to go from here, consider where you are on the journey above and move along the blueprint.
Matt Morris is a Brand Manager at Lifeway Christian Resources in Nashville, Tennessee. He has served in ministry for over 11 years. Matt is married to Carmen and they have twins, Hudson and Harper. Matt and his family are members of First Baptist Church Mount Juliet, where he serves as a deacon.