Some people have estimated that Jesus spent 10,000 hours with the disciples during His three-year ministry. That’s a little over 9 hours a day. Some days were much longer than that! Jesus taught them, hung out with them at weddings, went fishing with them, ate with them, weathered the storms with them, and went on road trips with them. He lived life with them.
And He appointed twelve, so that they would be with Him and that He could send them out to preach… (Mark 3.14)
But here’s the problem. We are married with kids, have full-time jobs, and have other responsibilities that Jesus didn’t have (not to mention a million distractions we allow to strangle our discretionary time). Some of these time commitments are unavoidable and some are self-inflicted wounds. We need to establish our priorities in order to disciple a few people. We need to get creative and multiply our time.
Deb and I have been making disciples for almost 40 years. We’ve multiplied our time by taking young disciples to our sons’ football and soccer games with us. We invited them to meals. It could be as grand as vacationing with them or as simple as bringing them along on a trip to the hardware store. There were seasons where we were getting together four times a week. But the way to spend the most quality time with them was to move disciples into our home. Challenging? You bet! Inconvenient? At times. But it was worth every minute of investment in their lives.
You don’t have to move people into your home but here’s the reality; disciple-makers need to find the time to spend with the folks they’re discipling or it won’t go well. Plain and simple. Disciples need mentors that take responsibility for their spiritual growth. Here’s a simple guideline for the time disciples need during the various seasons of life. Notice how time may increase or decrease based on the needs of the season of life and spiritual development.
Call to Action: Write down the names of 1-3 disciples that you will spend quality time with. Now think through the everyday events. Now invite them to join you.
Blast from the Past – How to start a disciple-making ministry – First be a Disciple