In the fall of 2013 our campus ministry’s large group gathering was growing but we weren’t sure if we were making disciples. In one staff meeting I asked, “How many of the 125 students we see each week are fully committed disciples?”
When the best guess was, “5 or 6,” I knew we had a lot of work to do. I knew we needed to create a system that makes disciples that makes disciples.
Since that time I’ve been searching for the best way to model what it looks like to be a disciple and make disciples. Here are five principles I’ve embraced that help me prioritize disciple making every week.
1. Meet in Huddles for Discipleship
My weekly discipleship meetings with students are in groups of 4-5. We call these groups huddles. This is language developed by 3dm. If you haven’t read this series of books from Mike Breen and the 3dm team, I highly recommend it.
Meeting in huddles is more efficient. Some conversations have to be one on one. But, I’ve found that leading discipleship huddles allows me to have a greater, more focused impact with the time I do have.
2. Don’t do Anything Alone Unless it’s Necessary
I spend plenty of time alone. A chunk of that is used to prepare to teach. But, I only want to be alone when I have to be.
As you go and do the things that you’re already doing, think about who you can invite into those things. Or even better, think about who’s already there with you!
As a general rule, I try never to do anything alone unless it’s necessary. Some of the best discipleship times are on long car rides. Even if you’re running a short errand, take someone with you. This could be valuable time spent investing in someone.
3. Have the Hard Conversations
Making disciples just means teaching people to be like Jesus. If we pass up opportunities to lovingly confront followers of Jesus who need to be confronted, we’re passing up opportunities to teach them to be more like Christ.
Ultimately, it’s unloving to allow someone to hurt themselves and not say something to them. Those conversations aren’t fun. But, it could be the catalyst for a radical life change.
4. Reach the Many by Focusing on a Few
In the gospels we see Jesus spending time with many different people. But, he’s consistently with the twelve. Within that group he really focused on Peter, James, and John. In the end, he loses Judas.
Jesus focused on 12, really focused on 3, and lost 1 along the way. I assume I won’t be able to do as well as Jesus. That means I’m going to be discipling a small group of students most of the time. Knowing this keeps me focused.
Jesus impacted many by focusing on a few.
We’ll reach the many by focusing on a few.
5. Let Go of Insecurities
We all need to watch someone closely as they follow Jesus in order to learn to follow Jesus ourselves. So if we’re going to make disciples, it’s incredibly important that people have access to our lives…our real lives.
It’s not unusual for us to armor up and keep people at a distance because of our insecurities. I feel it, too. There’s always this nagging feeling that I don’t know enough, that I’m not enough like Christ.
The reality is, I’m a work in progress. But, I do know a few things. I try to focus on sharing those. I don’t have to know much or be good at much.
I simply share what I do know.
I try to show students how I follow Jesus.
So, what do you do to prioritize disciple making? I’d love to learn about it! Please leave a comment below.