We think it takes four quality meetings a week to hit the discipleship bullseye. Wow! That’s a lot of time! But don’t give up. Keep reading. I’ve already written about the importance of time in the discipleship process but let’s look at some specifics. Remember, you can only do this with a few disciples. You can help many but focus on a few. If you focus on everyone, you are focused on no one.
Deb and I have found that 3 to 4 touches a week are the key to healthy discipleship. One touch would be our corporate family meeting with other disciples. Another should be an accountability time (A-Teams / Huddles). Two more can be casual times of eating a meal, having coffee, or a fun activity together. (We found that some of the most meaningful discussions happen spontaneously in the normal course of life). Notice I didn’t designate any one of these as church. To us, it’s ALL church.
But it’s not just the amount of time that makes the difference. It’s also the quality of time. Quality begins with “thought.” In Hebrews we are commanded to “…consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds.” (Heb 10.24) Forethought leads to intentional effective discipleship. I’ve heard people say, “I don’t have an agenda in my discipleship.” Jesus did and every good disciple-maker will as well. Our agenda is to stimulate our fellow disciples to love and good deeds. Our ultimate goal is to help people connect with Jesus in such a way they become like Him (Mat 10:24-25, Rom 8:28-29, 1Jn 2:6).
I love the illustration Mark from OKC uses to show the dynamics between the disciple-maker and the disciple. We start as heralds of good news pointing people to Jesus. As wise disciple-makers, we say with the Apostle Paul, “Follow me as I follow Christ.” (1Cor 11:1) But the disciple-maker keeps pointing to Jesus as the primary Disciple-maker throughout the process. See Mark’s video for further explanation. (Click here for video)
Two Tips for More Time
But finding time to get 3-4 touches a week is quite challenging for many busy people. Two practical tips will help you find the time.
- Multiply your efforts. There are things that you already do on a routine basis; meals, shopping, household chores, kids activities, road trips, vacations, etc… Bring those you are discipling along with you. (Mark 3.14) You’d be surprised at the depth of discussion that can happen during some of these mundane events.
- Say no to something good. Most of us know how to fill our plates with good stuff but only a few of us know how to fill our plates with the best stuff. Everyone gets 24 hours a day. The question is “How will you use them?” What will you say no to and to what will you say yes? We need to see “No” as a strategic response and say yes to discipleship.
Call to Action: Make a list of things you will say “no” to in order to get 3-4 meetings with a few disciples you are focused on this week.
A Blast from the Past: What are we building?