A Word from Your Crossroads Team: Today’s blog by Pastor Andrew Rogers (who serves as an adjunct professor for Crossroads) was first posted at the College Park Church blog site. Crossroads is reposting it with permission of Pastor Rogers and College Park Church. You can also read the original post here.
I am eternally grateful for Larry Dotson. Larry is a man who met with me regularly, mostly at the Greyhound bus station where I worked, to help me mature in Christ as a new believer. He modeled Christlikeness and he exhorted me to make disciples. Within a few years after he and I began meeting, I was blessed by God with the experience of making a disciple of my own and I haven’t stopped doing just that for the last twenty-four years.
Every disciple has been commissioned, called, and sufficiently supplied with what he or she needs to make disciples, especially disciples who make disciples (Matthew 28:18-20). We teach people the Word. We teach them to go on and share what they have learned with others, making more disciples. And we do this with the people who are already around us. We have confidence that Christ, our Lord, has commanded it with a promise to be with us always.
Portrait # 1: A Disciple-Maker is Devoted to MATURITY in Christ
In Mark 9:42-50, Jesus provides for us vivid images that paint 3 portraits of a disciple-maker. After teaching on humility and harmony in the previous verses, Jesus goes on to give us three features of a disciple-maker for us to think and behave rightly in our disciple-making ministries.
“Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea” (Mark 9:42).
This means that a disciple-maker is committed to seeing others mature in Christ by eliminating what might influence or entice others to sin. Rather, a disciple-maker lives to spur others toward good deeds (Hebrews 10:24) and build others up (Ephesians 4:29).
Closely connected to attending to the spirituality of others is attending to our own maturity in Christ. In verses 43-48, Jesus says that whatever we do, wherever we go and whatever we long for that entices us to sin we must decisively remove from our lives. We show what we value by what we eliminate, namely we value maturity in Christ both in our lives and in the lives of others.
Portrait # 2: A Disciple-Maker Is Devoted to MODELING Christ-Likeness
“For everyone will be salted with fire” (Mark 9:49).
We will all face resistance to mature in Christ and we must give attention to how we respond to our circumstances. God uses trials in our lives to purify us. Consequently, every disciple of Christ shall be tried or perfected by trial so as to become mature in Christ.
A disciple of one another implies imitating one another, therefore we model Christ-likeness, which is worthy of imitation and what mostly drives a disciple-maker. We disciple so that people will imitate Christ. Even when we are discipling each other through our struggles, our focus is not so much on solving problems as much as it is pointing each other to a Person to follow—Jesus Christ. As Paul says later in 1 Corinthians 11:1, “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.”
Portrait # 3: A Disciple-Maker Is Devoted to MULTIPLYING Christ Followers
Jesus says, “Salt is good, but if the salt has lost its saltiness, how will you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another” (Mark 9:50).
A disciple-maker is committed to influencing others. Among the various uses for salt in the ancient world, the most prominent are as a preservative or cleansing agent or as flavoring. In either case, it symbolizes the beneficial (καλόν) influence of the disciple on society.
Jesus has called us to influence the world by multiplying the Christlike influence of disciples who make disciples, ever increasing the influence of Christ’s kingdom.
The images Jesus uses substantiate and affirm that disciples of Christ value the person, priorities, and purposes of Jesus Christ more than anything else. We make disciples because we value Christ and we want all to know Him and proclaim Him. We are devoted to maturity in Christ, modeling Christ-likeness and multiplying Christ followers.
Consider beginning a discipleship relationship with one or more people of the same gender today. You don’t have to be an expert on a given topic. You don’t have to be experienced in discipling others. What we are asking of you is to pray for disciples, look for disciples and invite someone to disciple.
We have put together a web page designed to encourage and equip you to do one-on-one discipleship. Start by downloading the disciple maker’s guide and then watch God use your time and investment to bear fruit in your life and in the life of your disciple.