“A pupil is not above his teacher; but everyone, after he has been fully trained, will be like his teacher. (Luke 6:40)
She exclaimed, “You look just like your dad!” The young barista at Starbucks where my son worked was admiring the striking similarities between Wes and me. And although he has bigger muscles and fewer wrinkles, yes, he looks a lot like me. He’s my son.
These are the marks of a follower of Jesus too. They look a lot like Him. They are His disciples (Act 4.13). It is obvious that this has nothing to do with physical appearance. But a disciple has a distinct way about him. It is the way of his Master. And I firmly believe before you can make a disciple you must be a disciple.
Jesus started His ministry as we might start. He grew and matured in His relationship with God and man (Lk 2.52). He was obedient to His Heavenly Father’s wishes. And He demonstrated His stanch loyalties to the Father when tempted (Heb 4.15). Jesus was a disciple of the Father. Then Jesus turns to us and bids us follow Him as He followed the Father (Mt 4.19, 1 Jn 2.6).
Jesus’ discipleship under the Father was marked by a commitment to know Him in prayer and the Word (Mk 1.35, Mt 4.4). He also practiced selfless love everywhere He went (Mt 14.14). To be His follower means a similar level of commitment to these spiritual disciplines. They are not obligatory habits of religion; they are the life’s blood of communications in the relationship.
Before you can even consider starting a disciple-making ministry we must begin the process of being a follower of Christ ourselves. We cannot create what we are not. And to the degree and energy that we follow Him, we can expect to reproduce the same zeal (or lack thereof). You don’t need to be an expert or perfect. But you do need to be on the path and committed to Him in order to receive His blessings and see fruit in your ministry (Jn 15.5). Look to the gospels and imitate Jesus in life and ministry. He is the ultimate example of all things including starting a disciple-making ministry.