In the New Testament, the word ” disciple” was used to describe Christ’s followers much more than the word “Christian.” Jesus commanded the church to make disciples, not just evangelize the lost (Matthew 28:19). In spite of this lopsided focus, discipleship is not always the norm in the contemporary church. The following eleven indispensable principles are things I have learned as a disciple maker for almost four decades.
As I move closer towards my latter years (I was born in 1958), I have often reflected on the implications of the need for older leaders in regards to living out my purpose. Instead of fearing old age, I actually welcome it because of my biblical view. In this day and age, many young people make the huge mistake of thinking they know better than their father’s generation simply because they are more versed in technology and social media.
There are millions of deceived people in this nation who believe they are still following Christ when in fact they are not. What makes it deceiving is that some are still regularly attending Sunday church services and/or reading the Bible and praying on occasion.
There have been many articles and books written regarding spiritual fathering and parenting. This article is different in that I am writing from the perspective of leaders who need fathers.
I have been involved in empowering leaders of leaders for several decades now, and I have been challenged in two areas in particular that relate to this piece.
Often, when we are sharing the gospel with an unbeliever we think that we must begin with a blank slate in regards to their understanding of and adherence to God and salvation. We try our best to understand their perspective and their personal narrative and see how we can fit in the gospel message.
Being involved with pastoral and apostolic-type ministry for more than three decades, I have attempted to prioritize building relationally through covenant, and mentoring. This experience has shown me that in order to be successful I must discern between three types of people: protégés, partners, and parasites.
A prophetic culture is an exciting and much needed element for a cutting edge local church. By “prophetic culture” I am referring to having a sense of anticipation among the attendees that God is going to manifest His presence and speak directly to His people, either through the preached Word of God and/or through the worship experience. By prophetic culture I am not merely referring to a plethora of prophetic words being released during church services.
In order to understand the New Testament, it is vital for us to understand the cultural and religious background of Jesus and His disciples. With this in mind, it is helpful for us to understand the common discipleship method of the Jewish rabbis during Jesus’s day, so we can gain a greater appreciation of His radical approach based on His claim of lordship.
On the surface there appears to be no essential difference between the discipleship methods of Jesus and that of the rabbis of His time. For example, both Jesus and the rabbis of His time had disciples or students that would attach themselves to them.
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