Jesus clearly stated His expectation that all of His followers would grow and make disciples (Matt. 28:19-20). He didn’t select a few special individuals and set out to change the world through them. Rather, He chose a wide variety of people of all walks and stations in life. They all became disciples who made disciples in their own way. They were professionals, housewives, prostitutes, tradesmen, and politicians, rich and poor.
Not Personality Dependent
As we look at those who made disciples in the New Testament, it’s clear that disciple making isn’t limited to certain personality types, careers, callings, or ages. We don’t really know the variety of vocations and personality types in the New Testament, but we know that:
- Peter—was outspoken and impulsive.
- Barnabas— was warm and accepting.
- Lydia— was a risk taker and hospitable.
- Paul— was dominant and direct.
- Timothy—was withdrawn and reserved.
- Mary— was busy and meticulous.
- Apollos— was studious and reflective.
- Titus— was organized and strategic.
- Thomas— was skeptical and detailed.
- Luke— was educated and analytical.
So often today, people qualify certain personality traits, saying that those who have those traits are better than others at making disciples. This is a lie from the evil one. The enemy of our soul would like nothing better than to convince you that you can’t make disciples because __________ (you fill in the blank). Many of us have rehearsed tapes of why we we’re not that good at making disciples. Too often, we put up objections and excuses in an attempt to explain that God can’t use us to make disciples of others.
This is from Bobby Harrington and Greg Wien’s free eBook, Becoming a Disciple Maker. Download the eBook here in your favorite format at no cost.
Before we go any farther, let’s first establish the point that you aren’t the one making a disciple. in John 14:16, Jesus is pretty clear that disciple making is the role of the Spirit who does the transforming work within someone. Only through the power and presence of the indwelling Spirit does God use us to impact another. We’re simply partnering with Him in the process. God could surely make disciples without us (He is God), but for our benefit, He has chosen us to walk beside Him in the process of transforming a life.
Recently, some friends we (Greg) hadn’t heard from or seen in almost thirty years visited my wife, Mary Kay, and me. We were so thankful they intentionally sought us out after all these years. As we sat on our back porch laughing and sharing memories of the past, there came a point when it was obvious they had something important to tell us. They grew serious and told us the reason they looked us up was to tell us what a powerful impact we had made in their lives, discipling them as a young married couple.
Their words blew us away as they recalled event after event that happened over two years in this group we led. Mary Kay and I had been intentional about focusing on being disciples who would make disciples that make disciples. As we listened in awe, we were moved to tears. We all were. We had no clue the Spirit was making such impact in their lives through us. Only after they left, did my wife and I look at each other and confess that we didn’t even remember them being in that group! They had shared so many details only someone in the group would have known, so we knew they were part of it. But we both had little memory of that experience.
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The power and presence of the Spirit is often like that. He takes our obedience and uses it to do His work. He works in unfathomable ways unbeknownst to us. In the quiet corners of homes and hearts, the Spirit does His transformational work. Don’t think that God’s ability to work through you is limited to your personality or position. Most often, He will work through or around these.
Ironically, we can both tell you that the disciples that have grown through our investments entrusted by the Spirit occurred more through intentional relationships than in any sermon or service we led as pastors. Earlier, as Greg shared in chapter one, we often had to intentionally make disciples in spite of being pastors. We both feel it was often harder to make disciples as a pastor than it was as a layperson.
This blog is an excerpt from the free eBook, Becoming a Disciple Maker. Download it free here.
Written by Bobby Harrington and Greg Wiens
Stay tuned for the next part of Becoming a Disciple Maker by continuing to visit our blog.
Bobby Harrington is the Executive Director of Discipleship.org, a national platform, conference, and ministry that advocates for Jesus’ style of disciple making. He is the founding and lead pastor of Harpeth Christian Church (by the Harpeth River, just outside of Nashville, TN). He has a Doctor of Ministry degree in consulting and has spent years as a coach to church planters and senior pastors. He is the author of several books on discipleship, including DiscipleShift (with Jim Putman and Robert Coleman) and The Disciple Maker’s Handbook (with Josh Patrick).
Greg Wiens has been assessing leaders and organizations for over 35 years. He has worked with a gamut of organizations ranging in size and interest from Fortune 100 companies and public schools, to small non-profits and churches. He has pastored and planted churches as well as founded a number of organizations. He currently leads two missionally focused organizations: Healthy Growing Churches and Healthy Growing Leaders committed to engaging churches and leaders to multiply. Greg has co-authored two books: Dying to Restart and Daring to Disciple.
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