Last week, I said to become a disciple-making disciple we must find someone to help us. A disciple, by definition, is being taught by another. But the principle thing to grasp is not “taught” as in a classroom, or by a curriculum, but by a lived relationship with someone who is further down the road than you are. You must have someone to imitate if you are to learn the first steps. As the apostle said: “Imitate me as I imitate Christ.” This is the inner dynamic of all discipleship.
Let us discuss some of the characteristics of the disciple-making man or woman you need to find.
First, they are known to be serious in their desire to follow Jesus. Those who know them best are aware that they are not pretend Christians, or occasional Christians, but devoted to the Lord Jesus and his word. They have a demonstrable maturity, compared to you, in following the Lord Jesus.
Second, they are not confused by the question, “Would you be willing to disciple me?” They will know almost immediately what you are looking for, and will be able to prayerfully decide if they are to say “yes.”
Third, they are in an accountable relationship to their spouse, if married, and their home church. They are not lone rangers, and they are not looking for a relationship that satisfies their God given desires in any other way than God alone wills. They are not needing a relationship with you because they have none at home. Instead, they are able to help you because their home life is stable and holy. They do not function in opposition to a local body of believers, but are properly submitted in the midst of one.
Fourth, they do not have pamphlets and programs to give you. They know that the Word of God, guided by the Holy Spirit of God, is sufficient for the journey. They know that discipling another person is about a relationship of trust and openness lived before God, not about “getting a certificate.” It is about learning to live according to God’s will revealed in Holy Scripture.
And fifth, they have time for you. The depth of a discipling relationship can be absolutely charted by the amount of time spent together. Nothing less than one and a half to two hours a week will suffice for this journey. And even that will not lead to rapid growth. In the discipling journey, slow is good. Good fruit does not grow quickly! Disciple-making can not be rushed. It requires quality time. Lots of it.