The charge and command that Jesus gave us is to “go and make disciples.” It is the mission of the church and how the church has been advancing since its beginning. As we seek to make an impact in our community for the glory of God, we believe what we are called to, and what is the best thing we can do for our community, is to put more disciples of Jesus in it. This requires not just a church that can do Sundays well, but a church that is made up of an army of disciple makers. It is our dream to see more and more people of Veritas actively discipling others.
To help each of us grow in that, here is a framework to think through when discipling someone else. We will call it, “The 4 T’s of Discipleship.” I got this from Tim Maughan, a pastor who poured into me during my time in Arizona, and I have come back to it time and time again to guide me as I invest in others.
Time: Discipleship takes time. We live in a drive-through world where we want immediate results, but discipleship takes time. Be patient with people. Developing people is more like a slow cooker than a microwave. Measure success over the years, not over the weeks.
Touch: Discipleship requires a certain consistency and frequency of touch points. It doesn’t just happen over time, it takes actually spending time together. If iron is going to sharpen iron there has to be points of connection. When discipling someone, establish consistent and frequent touch points.
Truth: Discipleship happens when we gather around the truth of God. It is deeper than just hanging out, it is more than just spending time together. Discipleship requires an intentionality in learning and applying the Word of God. In the Great Commission, Jesus commanded us to go and make disciples, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey all that I have commanded. A lot of people spend time investing in others, but if it is not built around God’s Word, it is not discipleship.
Tension: This is important to understand - discipleship involves tension. There needs to be times in a discipling relationship where the Word of God creates tension. This happens when lifestyle choices are challenged by God’s Word or there is accountability in application of God’s Word. These aren’t comfortable conversations but they are an important part of discipleship.
The 4 T’s are a good guide for assessing our discipling of others. Maybe you're frustrated that you haven’t seen much growth. Ask yourself, are you being patient? Have you given this relationship time? Maybe it has been a year, but has there been consistent touch points over that year? If you’ve only connected a handful of times over the year you need to increase the touch points. Maybe you’ve gotten together frequently for the past year but you haven’t opened the Bible much. Or maybe you’ve opened the Bible a good amount but you’ve never challenged the person you’re discipling to repent from sin or apply what you’ve been learning.
Which of these T’s are you doing well in? Which of these T’s do you need to improve on? Maybe the idea of discipling someone else has always been intimidating to you. Hopefully this framework can help you see discipleship as more doable than you realize. Pick someone, be patient, find some consistent time to give them, intentionally open the Bible together, and challenge them to live it out.
Discipleship takes time, touch, truth, and tension. I hope these 4 Ts can be a guide for you as we all seek to not just be disciples, but become disciple makers.