In our work of forming disciples, we must devote ourselves primarily to two things. We can say that these are the two goals of discipleship:
1. The edification of the disciple’s life to acquire the character of Christ.
2. The ministerial training of the disciple so he can do the work of God. When I talk about edifying the life and character of a disciple I’m not talking about life transformation. Transforming lives is up to God. Transforming the born sins of Adam in a holy men is no task for us, but to God. He alone can change, transform the proud, rebellious and selfish man in a new man, gentle and humble. No discipleship could ever accomplish this miracle. This is the work of the Spirit of God.
Only by the new birth our heart of stone can be removed. It is by the new birth that we become new creatures. But is not only the new birth that is work of the Holy Spirit, the growth and transformation of lives in the image of Christ are also operated by the Spirit of the Lord (II Corinthians 3:18).
In this case we can agree with Paul, that neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth (I Corinthians 3:7).
Therefore it is essential that each disciple has a strong experience of God, receiving into their lives, by faith, the transforming action of the Holy Spirit, and to be continually filled with the Spirit, because without it the discipleship relationship will have very little result.
I. THE EDIFYING OF THE DISCIPLE’S LIFE
The first goal of a discipleship relationship is the edification of the life of the disciple aiming the character of Christ. God’s purpose is that all their children grow to the stature of Christ. The will of God is for our character to be transformed in such a way that we can express Christ in all areas of our lives.
“Until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:13)
Paul also shows us that their target was to introduce their children in perfect faith in Christ. Therefore, we understand that is a responsibility of the leaders to cooperate with the Holy Spirit in the growth and perfectioning of the saints. We do this through discipleship.
“To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory “(Col. 1:27)
The most important areas where you should observe are:
*In the family
* In the relatonship with one another
* In the sexual area
* In money management
* In the moral and ethics
* In your relationship with God
* In times of trials.
A. THE RESPONSABILITY OF DISCIPLER.
If the work of transformation of the disciple is the Holy Spirit’s, then what is the role of the discipler in this process? Paul says that “we are laborers together with God” (I Corinthians 3: 9). It is true that neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything; but still, we have to plant and water. We are laborers together with God. There is a part of the work that is God’s work, but there is another work that is up to us to fullfil it. It is God who does the mysterious part of giving growth, but it’s us who planted and watered. Our action can never replace the action of God; so God’s action does not absolve us of our responsibility.
What then is our responsibility in the formation of a disciple? I think we should note the examples of the Lord and Paul in the New Testament, and then do the same.
* Being with them
He appointed twelve[a] that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach (Mark 3:14)
* To be an example
Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ. (I Corinthians 11: 1)
Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity. (I Timothy 4:12)
* Love them
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:34)
* Get to know them
“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me. (John 10:14)
* Teach them the Word of God
What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus. (II Timothy 1:13)
* Instruct them
And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnessesentrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others. (II Timothy 2: 2)
* Encourage them
3 I thank God, whom I serve, as my ancestors did, with a clear conscience, as night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers.4 Recalling your tears, I long to see you, so that I may be filled with joy.5 I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also.6 For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. 7 For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. (2 Timothy 1:3-7)
* Fix them
These, then, are the things you should teach. Encourage and rebuke with all authority. Do not let anyone despise you. (Titus 2:15)
* I warned them and scold them
But those elders who are sinning you are to reprove before everyone, so that the others may take warning. (I Timothy 5:20)
Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. (II Timothy 4: 2)
• Pray for them
I thank God, whom I serve, as my ancestors did, with a clear conscience, as night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers. (II Timothy 1: 3)
• Honor them
Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me. (John 12:26)
• Be friend
I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. (John 15:15)
• Give your life for them
“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. (John 10:11)
• Send them
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28: 19-20)
We should disciple those brothers who are under our care with all diligence, responsibility, love and authority. We need to have the same zeal that Paul, in order to present our perfect disciples of Christ.
B. THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE DISCIPLES
We must emphasize that it is the disciple’s responsibility be subject, be transparent, manageable, loyal, honest, and hardworking to serve in all that is asked by the disciple.
2. THE MINISTERIAL QUALIFICATION OF DISCIPLES.
The second goal of discipleship is the ministerial training of the disciple so he can do the work of God. Again, it must be clear that it is not a function of the discipler a number of things regarding the ministry of the disciple.
There are some things that are exclusively the work of God. First, we must remember that it is the Lord who calls men to the ministry (Rom 1: 1, II Corinthians 1: 1). It is also the Holy Spirit give gifts to men (Ephesians 4: 7,8,11) and provide them with skills for ministry (Rom 12: 6-8). And finally, it is the Lord’s work to send them (Mt 9:38, I Corinthians 12:28). Again we must highlight what is God’s part and what is our in the ministerial training of workers of the Lord. I believe that the part that racing in as disciple is the same that says about the apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers, “improve (Katartismos) to the saints for the work of the ministry.”
So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up (Eph 4: 11-12)
The word improve here means simply to train, to teach and to repeat until you are able to perform the work of ministry.
The disciple is a coach. How a discipler can lead his disciple to be trained for the work of ministry? In other words, how to make this practical improvement or training? Let us understand what is the responsibility of a disciple.
- THE DISCIPLER’S RESPONSABILITY
We can say that the discipler’s responsibility involves at least four aspects:
• To train
• To Build and
• To Send, by placing the disciple in functions.
EQUIP THE DISCIPLES
First, we equip our students with the knowledge of God’s Word.
“and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20)
For I have not hesitated to proclaim to you the whole will of God. (Acts 20:27)
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1: 8)
We need to lead our students to know God intimately through a life of prayer and study of the Scriptures. It was not easy for the Lord to teach his disciples to pray. Sleep seemed to be a constant enemy. In Gethsemane they could not pray and slept (Matthew 26:40); on the Mount of Transfiguration, they were drunk sleep, and perhaps for this reason, Peter suggested that they should make three tents (Luke 9:32).
Besides that, we need to take them to cultivate a spiritual sensitivity to hear the voice of God and move in the gifts of the Spirit.
Finally, we must encourage our students to pursue theological training, motivating them also an intellectual overcome.
COACHING THE DISCIPLES
We have said that the greatest lesson of Jesus to form workers was the work itself. There is nothing that can overcome this method. It is very simple.
Stage 1 – “I do, you see.” Take the disciples with him. This is the “follow me”.
Stage 2 – “I do, you help me.” Do before them what you want them to do after: teach them by example.
Stage 3 – “You do, I’ll help you.” Instruct them specifically, assigning tasks to do (Matthew 10: 5-15).
Stage 4 – “You do, I notice.” Assess the task performed to alert them and correct them.
This is a circle, returning back to the first point each time a new task or challenge is placed, and so on. To the extent that they gain experience, they are given more freedom to develop their personal talent. Training is a practical training for the disciples to learn to do the work.
What should be included in the training of your disciples?
• Evangelize and bear witness to outsiders;
• Take the believers to repent and to have na encounter with God;
• To Baptize, understanding all the implications;
• Minister the baptism of the Holy Spirit;
• Discipling others;
• Pray for the sick;
• Casting out demons;
• To advise;
• Teach the Word;
• Preaching in public;
• Lead a life group;
• Lead a service or church meeting;
• To serve;
• Do good works;
• Shepherding and consolidate lives;
• To solve problems;
• Support loads and difficult situations, etc.
BUILD THE DISCIPLES
The third responsibility of a disciple is to build his disciples. Build is to place inside the building. A brick built is one that has been fully integrated into the building. It has a brick above it, has other by sight and has bricks below. There is a relationship of superiority or inferiority, but a building relationship.
The church is a body, and in it there are no independent ministries. The disciples from the beginning of their training, must learn to work as a team. There is no place for individualism among the servants of the Lord. Each one completes the other what is good for edification.
From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work. (Ephesians 4:16)
Every disciple and life group leader must know to whom he has to answer, or who is his pastor or discipler. In turn, the older brother should know which brother who are under their responsibility to build and train.
The relationship should be clearly defined and established. An ambiguous or undefined relationship does not allow a genuine edification. Some are disciplers, but his disciples did not know that he disciple them. They feel constrained to discipleship relationship. But this is wrong. Jesus knew what were his “twelve”. The Twelve also knew. Timothy, Titus, Luke and Epaphras had a clear and committed relationship with Paul, who knew that the formation of their lives was under his responsibility. These relationships should not be eternal, but as they do not produce changes should be clear and firm.
Discipleship doesn’t need to be eternal because we certainly have many disciplers throughout our life. This happens for many reasons: because we changed city because we aspire to the pastorate, or direction of God. A biblical example is John Mark. God’s Word shows us clearly that John Mark was initially under the ministry of Barnabas (Acts 12:25, 15: 37-39), soon after, Paul (IITM 4:11), and finally was a disciple of Peter (I pe 5:13)
SEND THEM, PUTTING THEM IN FUNCTIONS
The two goals of discipleship, certainly the ministerial training of the disciple so you can do the work of God is the most important. In our church, we believe that only someone became a disciple from the time he is willing to be a life group leader in training. Because only from that point it can work out all that you have learned and take responsibility.
For the development of the disciples, it is very important that they are placed in functions by giving them specific responsibilities according to their skill level at the moment. It is very necessary to know it and continue completing their training. It is very important to go promoting those who are faithful to higher responsibility positions, that are forced to struggle in the grace received and grow even more.
B. THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE DISCIPLES
The disciple should be careful to watch, listen and ask. The spontaneous and constant relationship between the disciple and the discipler will display teaching opportunities, encouragement and training.
The disciple’s attitude is the key for he grows in discipleship. We can say that there are three basic types of disciples, liabilities, lavish and productive.
A. The disciples liabilities
They come and go freely in the relationship. When a patch is applied, they seek other discipler who has not yet found their flaws. They move away when their disciplers are attacked, slandered or distress.
B. The lavish disciples
They seek the credibility of the position and not the correction. They will use the name and influence of the discipler to manipulate others in a relationship. In fact, they want what the discipler got and not what he learned. They want recognition and reputation, without preparation and without price.
c. The productive disciple
It is one that has a servant’s heart. He sees the disciple as a gift from God, so he tries not make important decisions without hearing the discipler. As a true disciple, he honors his discipler.