December 3, 2023 | Doug Sauder
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“And what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also.”—2 Timothy 2:2 (ESV)
There are a lot of books, podcasts, teachings, and articles about the best ways to disciple someone. Countless scholars, experts, and pastors have sought to provide tips, tricks, and explain the best practices for this all-important aspect of ministry and the Christian life—and with good reason. To disciple someone, to raise them up in the faith to become mature believers who experience the “fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:13 PHILLIPS), is a huge honor but also a huge responsibility.
Much like parenting, it requires a great deal of time, energy, intentionality, devotion, and care. So, how do we know the best way to engage in discipleship? It turns out the best model is found in the Gospels! There, we see Jesus spend three very intentional, transformational, life-changing years pouring into His disciples.
In those three years together, these men were taught by Jesus, led by Jesus, and given an example on how to live by Jesus. They saw Him preach, heal, and show amazing compassion toward the broken, the outcast, and the downtrodden. They saw Him stand up to hypocrisy and self-righteousness, have hard conversations with people, get in the muck and the mud of our brokenness, and serve humbly—even washing their feet!
These men walked, ate, prayed, celebrated, cried, and were reprimanded by Him. He taught them both practical and spiritual lessons. He empowered them, kept them accountable, corrected them when they were in the wrong, prayed for them, ate with them, walked with them, wept with them, and had fun with them. Christ showed them what it meant to love God, to abide in Him, and to follow Him. He prepared them to go into the world and make more disciples, even as He had made them disciples.
The apostles of Jesus grew to be the men we revere today in the presence and under the care of Jesus. He chose them, raised them up, then sent them out as His messengers to accomplish the mission. It didn’t stop there, though, because He sent us out to make disciples, to replicate in the lives of others the process He had walked them through.
This is what Paul was doing when he told the Corinthians, Philippians, and Thessalonians to follow his example as he follows the example of Jesus (1 Corinthians 4:16, 11:1; Philippians 3:17; 1 Thessalonians 1:6), and it’s what he did with men like Timothy, Silas, and Titus to the point he even called them his true sons in the faith. He took them under his wing and both instructed and demonstrated what being a follower of Christ, ambassador of Christ, and disciple maker of Christ was all about. And just like Jesus, he then charged them with doing the same for others, to “entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” And the same call applies to us! We need discipleship to grow and mature as believers, and we absolutely must then in turn do the same for others. I pray we take both charges seriously!
Pause: Who has been instrumental in your faith? How have they helped you grow and mature?
Practice: If you’ve never engaged in the process of discipleship, have never been discipled, or need some guidance and help discipling someone, please contact a trusted Christian friend or pastor or find additional resources at the end of this plan.
Pray: Jesus, thank You for showing me how to follow You. Thank You for giving me a model of what life is supposed to be. Thank You for teaching me how to pray, to serve, to love, to live out the Word, and to reach others for Your gospel! I pray You would bring people into my life who can help me grow and conform more deeply to Your image, and I pray You would use me to help others grow. Amen.
Danny Saavedra is a licensed minister who has served on staff at Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.