A friend recently asked this question; “How do we disciple a couple?” Here’s my response…
“Actually, it’s pretty easy and the same as with a single person. You’ll have a lot of fun if the couple wants to follow Jesus.
Keep Jesus the center of discipleship – Read Colossians 1 and time how long it takes to read out loud. Now count the number of times Paul refers to Jesus. Follow his example. Talk about Jesus! Get them in the Word and reading Jesus daily. Help them pray and talk to Jesus daily. When you teach something, start with Jesus. When they ask you a question, start with Jesus. When there is an obstacle or struggle to overcome, start with Jesus. (Notice I started with Jesus) This is a learned skill and a discipline.
Pray for them – This would seem like a no brainer but I’m amazed on how we treat prayer as the last resort and not our first resort even in discipleship. I recently watched this video and it reminds me of what I think about my ministry when I am not declaring my absolute dependence on God in prayer. Real transformation is a miracle of God. We need to be asking Jesus for the real deal in our lives and the lives of others.
Love them – Jesus said there is no greater love than to lay down your life for your friends. (John 15.13) The trick is to LIVE while DYING. I’ve heard it said, “Its easier to die for Jesus than to live for Him.” Don’t know if that’s completely true but there’s a kernel of truth in that. I think the same goes for the couple that you’re discipling. You need to die to yourself and live for them. If at the end of the day they say, “we feel loved by Ryan and Chelsea,” you completed a huge part of the task.
Spend lots of time together – at least twice a week, four is optimal. Multiply your time together by doing life together; church, harvest, coffee, going to the store, take trips together, have fun, etc… Jesus probably spent 10,000 hours with His D’s in the span of 2.5-3 years. It would take us almost 30 years to do the same with 2 hours a week. He chose 12 so that they would be with Him (Mark 3.14). Side note: Jesus did most of His discipleship in the harvest. Food for thought.
Get close – Proximity increases time. If you live less than a 10min drive is optimal. 20min is doable. 40min…they might as well live in a different state 🙂 Again, Jesus got His closest guys close (Mark 3.14).
Look for influence – If they are learners and doers, you have influence. If they are not, you’re just tickling the ears. Sounds like they are asking for your leadership. The rub comes when they have to make a choice of following you or the pastor, speaker, teacher, parent, etc… It’s ok for people to have multiple leaders in their lives but if it becomes a competition for time, goals, focus, and vision (and it will) they may need to make a choice on where they are going to have to throw in 99%. People are way too busy and spread way too thin in the American context to have the kind of focused and concentrated relationship that Jesus had with the 12. The tricky part of this is to warn them of this danger without demanding their allegiance or compliance. This is why I think Hebrews 13.7 comes before Hebrews 13.17. Ultimately, you want Jesus to call the shots in their life. He is the primary discipler. Your job is to facilitate that.
Cast vision – Jesus started with “follow Me and I’ll make you fishers of men.” (Mat 4.19) He ended with “There’s the world, sic ’em” (Chuck’s version of the Great Commission, Mat 28.18-20). Keep casting the vision for reproduction, multiplication, generations, and the ultimate goal of reaching the world for Jesus.
I said at the first “it’s easy”. Well, by principle. Now comes the hard part, doing it 🙂 Jesus set a high bar and to me, these are the main principles. Some is better than none, so work your way little by little into these principles as you disciple them.
There is plenty more but you guys have the Holy Spirit, the Word, and lots of tools. You’ll have fun 🙂 If you’re looking for more specifics, shoot me another email and I’ll tell you what Deb and I think :)”