A good disciple maker or leader does not allow his lesson or training to be limited to a once a week study or a classroom. He does not need to attempt to execute the perfect lesson plan by trying to control every possible distraction. Jesus was flexible – Jesus met people where they were, on their level, without sacrificing His intention to make disciples.
People grow at different rates. An effective disciple maker will adjust his approach according to the growth stage of the person they are discipling. This is one of the reasons it is ineffective to try and make disciples of a large group of people with a lecture style format. You need to be in the life of your disciple, walking side by side through different circumstances and events together in order to get a complete picture of where they are spiritually.
Jim Putman, author of this blog, is writing a new book called The Death of Discipleship about the dynamics of pride and humility in the discipleship process. Download the free primer for this book here.
An effective disciple maker knows how to take discipleship from theory and put it into practice with someone. To go from the classroom to the living room. When disciple making is reduced to a program, people often fail to connect it to a lifestyle.
Jesus often adjusted his plan in order to meet people where they were. In John 12:1-3, 7-8 – Mary reveals her heart to Jesus by washing his feet. He doesn’t come out and say she is a spiritual young adult, but He purposefully defends Mary’s actions and encourages her faith.
There are many examples in the Scriptures of Jesus adjusting his leadership to a person’s needs. (Two more are Mark 9:20-24, John 21:15-17). Being intentional doesn’t mean using a rigid, preprogrammed approach, but it also doesn’t mean being accidental. Intentional leaders drive the discipleship process – they do not leave it to chance or random luck. They are always prepared to use a situation or a conversation as a chance to teach or model what it means to be a disciple of Jesus.
Written by Jim Putman
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