by Matt Dabbs
People often ask what the best Bible translation is. The best answer I’ve heard to this question is “The one you will read and apply.”
The same is often true of approaches to making disciples. So many approaches are out there, and keeping them all straight can become overwhelming.
When we hear of new approaches to discipleship, we likely consider how we might incorporate these new ideas into our approach.
If making disciples is our passion, then it makes sense we would spend time listening to other experts in the field. But don’t feel obligated to put into practice everything you hear.
Making progress is far better than getting stuck trying to integrate a dozen approaches into some sort of Frankenstein disciple making process—a head from here and an arm and leg from there—it can turn into a real mess of complications that no one can wrap their mind around.
Above all, we must continue to learn and to be open to honing our skills. But let’s not get stuck in the trap of mass conglomeration.
This might seem noble, but it can be an excuse to do little to nothing. As we said in the last article about having a simple gospel that is presentable, simple approaches are repeatable.
Frankenstein is not simple!
Here are four ways to continue to learn and grow without getting caught in a Frankenstein disciple making trap:
Be intentional with your listening. Instead of looking for new ideas to integrate, listen to what God is doing and whom he is using. This can result in praise!
Instead of feeling the pressure to change your discipleship methods as you read, watch, or listen to new approaches in books, videos, and podcasts, pray and ask God to reveal any new approaches he wants you to try. There may be something you learned that just nags at you that you can’t seem to let go. That could be God trying to get your attention!
Always remember you are a human being, not a human doing. God even works while we sleep, and he saves people we will never encounter. You don’t have to do something about every new thing you learn. God is fully capable of doing kingdom work apart from your efforts.
Being filled with self-doubt can be easy if you listen to experts who have been doing this longer and with a high degree of success. You can easily slide into the fleshly game of kingdom comparison if you’re not careful. Remember, none of that is from God, and he doesn’t need you to become an expert to be useful to his kingdom.
So keep listening, praying, resting, and resisting doubt about your usefulness, and watch God do the heavy lifting in your disciple making. The best approach is the one you will use … so keep it going!
I appreciate the focus and drive of the apostle Paul who wrote this from prison:
Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:12–14)
Let us have the same mindset as Paul in continuing to move forward in disciple making efforts!
By Matt Dabbs for the Discipleship.org team
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