Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come. This is a trustworthy saying, and everyone should accept it … 1 Timothy 4:8-9 (NLT) Intentionality – discipleship requires us to have strategy, direction, and specific steps for those we are discipling. The Oxford Dictionary describes intentionality as “the fact of being deliberate or purposive” (yes, purposive is a word!). We must state, up front, that this concept may be hard for people to believe in or grasp in our day.
This concept means that disciplemakers know where other people need to go and they have a plan to help them get there. We live in a time where we celebrate humility in moral and spiritual circles and we do not like those who talk and act like they might know the way. We are suspicious of those who claim knowledge or insight about a spiritual journey for others. Our post-modern world pushes away from absolutes. Instead we prize the modesty of uncertainty and admire self-professed expressions of doubt.
Amongst Christians, there is now a common posture that people take, saying, “only God can guide people.” “Our only job,” they say, “is to pray and trust the Holy Spirit’s guidance in another person’s life.” The problem with this posture is that it can be at odds with the teaching of Jesus and with discipleship as it is found in the Bible.
Let’s carefully examine a few sections of scripture that make this point clearer. We want to start with the primary text on discipleship in the New Testament again from the words of Jesus in Matthew 28:19-20. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (NIV)
This text begins with two imperatives: “go” and “make.” Jesus is commanding us to be intentional. We can only follow Jesus’ teaching in this text if “we make the decision to go” (into the world of lost people, those facing eternal judgment without Christ) and “we make disciples” (enable people to follow Jesus by our efforts).
The second imperative is key: we can only “make disciples” if we know what a disciple is and how to make one. A disciplemaker, by definition, is guided by intentionality and planning. There is balance here because the text ends with a promise of Jesus’ presence. He tells us that in the disciple making process, he is with us always, to the very end of the age.
So, we do our part and we trust that Jesus is in us, making it happen through our efforts. I make disciples, but I do not do it by myself. And I do not just leave it to Jesus. He commanded me to do my part, as he works through me. If I do not pursue an agenda and if I do not have a basic sense of direction, I cannot make disciples. If the plan deviates from Jesus’ model, it will be a monumental failure. And if I don’t move out and implement this plan, I won’t make disciples. I need a plan because, according to the text, making disciples includes my role in teaching them “to obey everything that Jesus commanded.” I must be intentional so that I can be faithful to teach them what Jesus commanded.
Because of the importance of intentionality in disciple making, we at Discipleship.org are going to emphasize this skill set and mindset over the next four months.
Please join with us and seek to share understanding, insight, and practical tools so that you can become skilled at intentionality in relational disciple making and you can help those on your team or in your leadership group to do the same.
There are four ways in which we are emphasizing intentionality to help you in the next four months.
- Discipleship.org City Tour Forums – our four City Tour Forums are designed to help you and your team both understand and develop an intentionality posture. The tour is comprised of one day, high impact forums where there will be teaching and round table discussions. Every attendee also gets a copy of Brandon Guindon’s book, Intentional: Living Out the Eight Principles of Disciple Making.
Click the image below for more information.
Take the FREE Individual Disciple Maker Assessment – we designed this assessment with a team of national and international disciple making leaders to help each individual be able to evaluate their disciple making mindset and skill. Just by taking this assessment, you will gain an appreciation for the value of intentionality, along with a sense of how you can increase your own level of intentionality.
Click the image below to take the assessment.
- Read the short FREE book, Becoming a Disciple Maker: The Pursuit of Level Five Disciple Making – I wrote this short eBook with statistician Greg Wiens to help you understand the mathematical and practical impact of one person’s disciple making efforts and skills.
Click the image below to download this free eBook.
- Read Brandon Guindon’s book, Intentional: Living Out the Eight Principles of Disciple Making – Brandon wrote this Discipleship.org book and Zondervan is publishing, because the understanding and practice of disciple making is so crucial. Every attendee at each of our City Tour events (Nashville, Houston, Dallas and Raleigh), as mentioned above, will receive a FREE copy of Brandon Guindon’s book.
Click the image below to pre-order Brandon Guindon’s book from Amazon.com.
Please join with us in this quest to better understand and practice intentionality. It will help us all to become more and more like Jesus, the world greatest disciple maker.
Bobby Harrington, CEO
Please join us for the 2024 National Disciple Making Forum!
Join 1,300 disciple-making leaders and practitioners to learn, share insights, and connect in person.
For two days on May 1-2, Discipleship.org will host disciple making tracks, consisting of hyper-focused teaching, panels and live Q&A sessions that will fuel your disciple-making efforts in 2024 and beyond!
The 2024 Forum will be held at Mt. Pleasant Christian Church. The address is 381 N Bluff Rd Greenwood, IN 46142.