Before I begin today’s post, I’d like to welcome almost 100 new subscribers to the blog! I’m glad you’re going to be getting these daily posts. Here’s a quick recap of how the blog posts work:
Mondays – book excerpt…I’ll introduce you to a book on Christian education and a short excerpt from it
Tuesday – teaching tip – something you can do in your Bible study group next time you meet
Wednesday – a post related to any aspect of group ministry, teaching, or leadership
Thursday – ditto of Wednesday
Friday – links to other trusted blog content to help you as you lead your Bible study group
And now, Monday’s book excerpt!
Here is my definition of disciplemaking: ‘Discipleship is an intentional friendship with another person, with Jesus at its core.’ This involves more than imparting intellectual knowledge of the Bible or even of God. For this reason disciple-making takes a person to places he or she could never go in a classroom. Disciplemaking invades personal space. Your share your own failings, victories, and insights with another person. A good disciplemaker invites his disciple to help with ministry, then do ministry on his own while the disciplemaker applauds the effort. Disciplemaking calls a person to do things he or she never thought possible.”
Author Ralph Moore’s book on making disciples is an accessible work and an easy read – I’d recommend it to anyone who wants to explore the topic of making disciples. It’s a practical and simple book – his premise is that disciplemaking is all about spending time with another person. That’s it. Simple to understand, but perhaps harder to implement. Why is it hard to implement? Here are three reasons from my point of view:
- We think making disciples is about filling out a notebook. For years church leaders have equated “discipleship” classes with making disciples, when in reality all we did was have people fill out notebooks. They learned – and that’s a good thing – but they didn’t spend relational time with a mentor.
- We don’t leave enough margin in our lives to include people. If discipleship is really about spending time with a person in order to coach them, teach them, and live life with them, most of us do a poor job because our schedules are just too full to allow for more casual and occasional experiences with a disciplee.
- Bigger Bible study groups work against making disciples. I’m going to keep harping on this – it’s starting to become a “pet peeve,” I suppose. Large Bible study groups may be fun to teach, and they may stroke a teacher’s ego, but they aren’t great for creating disciples. The bigger the group, the bigger the transfer of information. The smaller the group, the more likely it is that the group leader and others in the group can make time to disciple someone else. Smaller groups that are focused on making disciples know what the “win” is – recreating themselves in the lives of others. Sometimes bigger Bible study groups think that the end goal is a large group and an increase in Bible knowledge.