Someone once described disciple-making as, “One beggar showing another beggar where to find food.” I like that description because it bears out our own desperate need for Christ and strips any hint of pride from the disciple-making process.
But all too often, we think of making disciples as a hierarchical activity. We might express this mindset in terms like, “I’d like to disciple you.” Or, “Would you disciple me?” To be fair, either of those phrases could be voiced humbly and sincerely. However, they may also reek of pride.
The word “disciple” simply means a learner. A disciple of Jesus is a learner of His. We don’t seek to become each other’s disciples. We want to make disciples of Jesus. When we make disciples, we show others what it means to sit at the feet of Jesus and learn from Him. Any hierarchy is between us and Jesus, not between the “learners.”
In seeking to lead someone to Christ, Peter urges us, “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.” (1 Peter 3:15 NIV)
And in relating with other followers of Christ, Peter says, “All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, ‘God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.’” (1 Peter 5:5 NIV)
Consider this, if we think of disciple-making as hierarchical, this implies that the disciple-maker attain certain qualifications. Without thinking about the implications of this, our minds might drift off to the need for training, education, certification, and credentials. But is that true?
Remember when Jesus healed the man who had a legion of demons in him? Immediately after Jesus healed him, he begged Jesus to let him go with Him. But Jesus said to him, “’Go home to your own people and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how He has had mercy on you.’ So the man went away and began to tell in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him. And all the people were amazed. (Mark 5:19-20 NIV)
To make disciples (as beggars showing other beggars where to find food) all you need initially is your story. What has Jesus Christ done for you? Now, tell others!
Of course we want to grow in Christ and get to know Him better. That involves spending time with Him in His Word, the Bible. But a certain level of Bible knowledge is not required to make disciples of others. Like He did with the man in Mark 5, Jesus tells us, “Go home to your own people and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.”
What is God doing in your life right now? What has He done for you? Where has He shown you mercy? Share those experiences with others and watch God work!
The one credential we do need as disciple-makers is the indwelling Holy Spirit. But if you know Christ, then His Spirit already lives in you. He will prompt you. He will speak through you. Yield to Him and learn from Him. He will use you to bring others to Christ and help your fellow disciples grow in Him.
©2019 Rob Fischer