Jesus commanded us to make disciples who make disciples. We can make disciples formally and informally. In formal discipleship you need to consider all that you want people to:
Know — key doctrines all people should know
Believe — truths that motivate and transform your identity and behavior
Do — the activities that the gospel leads us to practice
Informal discipleship, in conjunction with formal discipleship is crucial in making followers of Jesus who both hear and obey.
5 ways church leaders make disciples informally:1. Encourage a disciple-making culture.
God commanded through Moses (Deuteronomy 6) and Jesus commanded the disciples (Matt. 28:18-20) to develop a disciple-making culture where all of life becomes the platform for disciple-making.
Six questions to determine if you have a disciple-making culture:
- Are the few doing the ministry for the many? Or are the few equipping the many for the ministry?
- Do we spend the majority of our time equipping, training and developing leaders?
- Is it apparent that every member is to be a full-time minister in your church?
- Do new believers get called and sent into the mission upon conversion?
- Do you celebrate those who leave to start new works?
- Is there shared leadership within the local body?
- Do you intentionally create vacuums for other leaders to fill?
To be an example for the flock (1 Peter 5:1-3), others need to see our lives as an observable example of gospel ministry, mission and ordinary life. We also need to observe their lives – to see if they are faithful (2 Timothy 2:2). The areas we need to observe one another includes marriage, family, management of our household, love of neighbors, our leadership, our training, and our discipling, as well as conflict management, exercise, prayer and how we use money.3. Live with your leaders in community.
Jesus said the greatest apologetic for the gospel is our love for one another (John 13:31-45). We practice the "one anothers" of scripture in community. If you're not developing people to love one another, you're not making disciples. And you will not make disciples who love one another if they're not in consistent community where others are building them up.4. Live as servants together.
Ephesians 4:11-16 tells us that God gives some to equip the saints for ministry, and that the means by which we grow up into maturity is when each part is doing its work. We will not grow up if we are not all ministering. We grow up as we build up the body and serve together.5. Make sure your leaders live on Mission.
Living life on mission requires getting in the game. Is your missional living more of a chalk-talk (sermons and teaching) or an actual game? Is it just a scrimmage among other Christians or are we actually engaging the lost? If we are not in the game of mission, we will not become disciples, but rather just a spiritual formation group.