As Christians and disciples of Christ, we are called to disciple others. There are many ways to go about discipling, but there are also some principles that should never be left out of the discipleship process. These ten keys will help all Christians as we go about spreading the good news and discipling others.
What is effective discipleship? Effective discipleship is helping lead others to Christ by not only your words but also your actions as they reflect Christ, and creating a true relationship and community along the way.
We as Christians will go out into the world and be given amazing opportunities to witness and disciple others. We need to be in accordance with God’s word when discipling others.
1. Rooted in Scripture
God gave us the Bible as a way to communicate with us as believers and we should fully utilize this tool. Scripture has not only amazing examples of believers who discipled others like Peter, Paul, and the other apostles but Jesus’ word.
In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.Matthew 5: 14-16
We as believers want to be rooted in God’s word and know it to effectively help others know it. When we deep into God’s word and aim to know him better we can help others dig deep and know God.
We as Christians also communicate with God through prayer. Prayer is such a big part of the Christian life it cannot be left out of the disciple-making process. Guidance and wisdom are obtained through prayer, when we do not know what to do the Holy Spirit will help us, but the first step there is prayer.
As we grow in the spiritual disciple of prayer we become better equipped to help grow others in Christ. God will help lead us as we help others grow. God uses prayer in powerful ways.
Accountability is important for anyone but especially for us as we aim to live as Christ did and be an example to those we disciple. We sometimes need accountability in cases where we get distracted or stray from how we should be acting.
Accountability can look like having a mentor in your life or a Christian peer who will help you make wise choices and redirect you when you get off track. With someone in your life to keep you accountable, you can then be a good mentor and help those you are discipling have accountability.
Our lifestyle as a Christian needs to be Christ-like. One of the key components to discipling others is practicing what you preach. If you do not practice what you preach, you will not be able to convince anyone else that Christians should live as Jesus did.
We need to observe our own lives, and look for habits and sins that draw us away from God, and actively work towards looking more like Christ. Once we learn to abide in Christ and turn away from sin, then we can help others do the same.
A lifestyle that exemplifies Christ will be the best kind of witness to those doubting if Christ works in the lives of believers.
It is easy to say and act in a way that shows how Christ would act, but will anyone want to listen if there are no connections?
Creating personal connections with those you are discipling is very important, looking at Jesus’ life we know that he created very personal connections with all of his disciples.
In order to disciple another person, you must have a relationship. Once you have a solid foundation, you will both have mutual trust and love for each other. Then, you both can be honest about where you are in your walk with the Lord. Then, you can begin disciple them.
Being in a community is a time where believers can grow with each other and learn more about God. When we have a community of believers around us, we can grow.
People in community gain advice and knowledge from those around them.
This is also true for new believers and those we are discipling, they need a group of people to also help them grow in their faith.
No matter how much time and energy you put into discipling someone, they will need other believers helping them along the way.
Integrity is living truthfully and with good morals. As Christians, we should live this way, and as we disciple people we should live this way since others are watching.
We also need to have integrity in our relationship with those whom we are discipling, if we are not honest and open with them, we cannot expect them to be honest and open with us. We cannot expect others to live in a way that we are not willing to live in.
God may use us as Christians to help grow others in Christ, but only God causes growth.
So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.1 Corinthians 3:7
We cannot claim the work that God is doing as our own, God has simply chosen to work through us to accomplish his will.
Effective discipleship happens through Christ, and we should give God the glory, taking none of it for ourselves. It is from God that he has given us this opportunity to be a witness and disciple others.
How many times have we sat through a lesson in Sunday school or at church and never applied what we learned? Soon after we forgot what the lesson was about. It is important to teach the person you are discipling how to apply what they are learning from church and from their devotional time.
Taking what we read in the Bible and applying it to our life brings shows maturity. God wants us to live out His Word.
10. Hard Work
Discipleship takes time and energy, it is not an easy process. We cannot go into effective discipleship without being ready and committed to leading others to Jesus.
If we are not willing to put effort into growing closer to God intentionally why should those we disciple take time to grow closer to God?
We cannot go into the process of discipleship without remembering the time and effort that must be put into effective discipleship. It takes time for us to grow in a deeper relationship with Christ, and time to make connections with other people. This is what God calls us to,
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.Matthew 28:19-20
God commands us to make disciples and teach them. This task is should not be taken lightly. We have the privilege to play a part in what God is doing in the world.