1 Thessalonians 2:8 – “We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you have become so dear to us.”
Listen to the pathos of the Apostle Paul:
“We loved you so much…”
The important element of love is what glues a discipling relationship together.
“…delighted to share with you…”
It is never a chore to disciple another but a privilege and delight to do so.
“…not only the gospel of God but our lives as well…”
It is not a transfer of knowledge but an impartation of life.
The essence of discipleship is not a program but a process. It is not just about information but it is about formation. The end-goal is not to teach but to bring about transformation. It is not just an impartation of knowledge or skills but it is the transference of life.
“…become so dear to us.”
The best discipling relationships are those marked with true affection between the discipler and the disciplee.
What I see here is the paradigm through which we should see people.
In order to disciple people, we must first love them until we like them.
The only way we can do this is to be able to see potential in them.
So what we need is a huge bi-focal lens. One lens enables us to see them as they are now. And the other is a lens that enables us to see them for who they can become.
In essence, this is what it means to see people as God sees them!
Our people have massive potential! People in your group and under your care have huge potential!
Question: Can you see them in that light?
Here’s the outworking:
1. Assume that people are generally trustworthy when you start trusting them.
2. Assume that people have substantial capacity for growth when motivated.
3. Assume that people can blossom if you create a right environment for growth.
4. Assume that people can be challenged so don’t say “no” on their behalf.
5. Assume that people are with you in vision but only differ in implementation.
6. Assume that people are likable once you get to know them personally.
It is our expressed purpose to build an intentional disciplemaking church that moves people towards authentic discipleship to Jesus and intentional disciplemaking of a certain kind. But we will never be able to do this simply through a system or a discipleship program.
I think what we need is more than a clear model, tested tools and strong mobilisation towards our discipleship events and training. We need discipleship to be modeled from the leadership all the way to the last person in the church. Our leadership must want to disciple others and want to be discipled themselves.
If we do not demonstrate that discipleship is a value in our lives, we will never be able to build a disciplemaking church. Every one of us here must be intentionally living out the certain kind that we want to reproduce.
So let us make sure that we are accountable and teachable to those who are above us and we are actively seeking to reinvest ourselves in those who are in our care. And it is not about how much you know but it is about how much you care.
Are you discipling anyone right now?
If so, may 1Thessalonians 2:8 become our benchmark in our disciple-making!