Our staff has been walking through Master Plan of Evangelism by Robert Coleman recently and a couple of parts have struck me in terms of how Jesus made disciples and how He didn’t force the issue. If Jesus Himself didn’t have to force anyone to be a disciple, then why do we often fall into this line of thinking?
“He (Jesus) did not ask anyone to do or be anything that He had not demonstrated first in His own life, thereby not only proving its workability but also its relevance to His mission in life.” (Master Plan of Evangelism)
Jesus modeled everything for His disciples. Whether it was prayer, scripture, serving others, or just straight up evangelism, He showed them how to do it and why it was important because He was doing it first.
I find myself talking about those similar topics with many people a lot, but how often am I actually demonstrating it before them? Yes, I’m busy…bla bla bla…my schedule is full, I have kids, “insert whatever other excuse I have here,” but do I really think disciples are going to be made by meeting up with them once a week to discuss these topics? Are we really going to make disciples this way? Many people including myself are guilty in this area, but not condemned thanks to Jesus and the promise that He is always working in us to the very end (Philippians 1:6).
God keeps bringing me back to a main point over and over again – be obedient to what I am calling YOU to do and I will take care of the rest. He keeps reminding me to stop looking around, stop comparing, stop living out 10 years from now, and to focus on what He is entrusting me to take care of, today. That reminder often aggravates me because I need to keep being reminded about it, but I’m encouraged and comforted from it because it reminds me that God is in control, not me. He’s got this, not me. He draws people into a relationship with Himself, not me. He changes hearts, not me. He ultimately makes His disciples, not me.
We don’t have to force discipleship.
“Note that Jesus did not force the lesson on them, but rather He just kept praying until at last the disciples got so hungry that they asked Him to teach them what He was doing.” (Master Plan of Evangelism)
We can take a great lesson from Jesus’ example of not forcing the issue on His disciples. He wasn’t banging them over the head yelling at them on why prayer is so important and how they should do it daily, He just modeled it for them proving just how critical it is in life. He was just obedient Himself to what God was calling Him to do and….just did it. That set the tone for His disciples on what it truly meant to follow Him.
I definitely think there’s a place for us to look at our brothers and sisters in Christ and challenge them to draw closer to Christ and be obedient, but sometimes we fall into the trap of doing this too often and forgetting what obedience looks like for ourselves. I’m convinced the more we would be obedient to what the Lord is calling us to do….that would be contagious for others to see and would spur them on to do the same ten times more than if we were to just tell them. Then, real discipleship begins.
Let me encourage you to seek what the Lord is calling you to do. To spend time with Him consistently and with high quality, to pray regularly, to read and memorize Scripture all the time, and to make disciples. Not forcing the issue as you go and make disciples, but modeling to them what obedience truly looks like. Then hopefully they will be obedient themselves, and then teach others to do the same. That’s how we can make disciples and that’s what Jesus has called all of us to do (Matthew 28:18-20).