For just over forty years, I have been in the process of making disciples. For the past thirty-five years, I have been using the same approach to this process. I learned it from my mentor, Fred Bishop of No Greater Love Ministries (NGL) http://nogreaterlove.org/. This approach is very simple, but allows for tremendous depth and flexibility for both the disciple-maker, and the disciple.
Having now served the sporting world for almost 27 years, and continuing to make disciples along the way, this approach has proven to be quite effective. Please consider using this model or modifying it to suit your purposes. The form I use is attached as a pdf and pictured below. It focuses on four areas of development of Christian life. Prayer – Study – Christian Community – Sharing One’s Faith. With sportspeople, I often call these exercises or drills that we practice to develop our lives in Christ. I will explain, demonstrate, and assign a process or a resource for exercising, and in succeeding sessions we will review their discoveries, insights, and answer their questions. I always emphasize that Christian discipleship is a life-long process of growth and development.
I simply show the prospective disciple the diagram, explain that one’s life in Christ is developed through a vertical relationship with God in prayer and study, as well as horizontal relationships with other believers (Christian Community) and with people yet to believe (the sharing of one’s faith). The stronger one’s relationship with God grows, the shadow cast among the people surrounding him or her will be stronger and broader. Then I ask them, “Where would you like to start?” This question allows the disciple to indicate his or her greatest interest up front, leading to a greater likelihood of success and long-term development.
Once the starting point is determined (almost always Prayer or Study), I flip the page over and begin to share processes and resources that facilitate our growth. Once we have delved into that first element, mastered its processes, we can choose another point in the diagram, and begin its development. I have found it best to ask the disciple each time, “Where should we go next?”
It’s also wise to determine the duration of your discipleship process together. You can determine to meet for a set number of sessions, weeks, or months. To not set a timeline often leads to a sense of dread and failure if the frequency of meetings decline or circumstances cause you to stop meeting. Set the duration, complete those sessions, then determine if you should keep meeting or if it’s time to move on.
Obviously, if there are resources you prefer or processes you like better, substitute them. These have been most helpful to me and to those I have discipled.
Let’s make disciples. This is my process, as adapted from a mentor. If you don’t have a process, this one is better. Choose one and get after it.