The more that I disciple men, the more I need to set goals and expectations. A disciple is complex. They are not merely students. They are apprentices. Goals and expectations need to be formulated along those lines. Otherwise, you will end up with a student. That would not be good. We are called to make disciples that will in turn make another. They must have knowledge, skills and leadership development before releasing them to be on their own.
We need to understand that Rome was not built in a day. Neither are disciples. We can however, have them active and developing on the job. We don’t have to send them to seminary and get them ordained before they start ministering to others. Try not to be hard on yourself as a leader if your apprentice doesn’t lead a thousand people to Jesus by next month or start twenty churches that meet in homes in a week. You need to be realistic. Trust that God will help you make them into what He wants rather than what you want.
In the last year we have been involved with people who desire to see a disciple making movement in our city. It has been exciting to see people trained and equipped to take the gospel all over the city and even the world. The reality is people don’t get the first time. Its takes some people multiple looks and peer to peer practice before they even do anything with it. Still, many won’t do anything with it.
What do you do? Get pissed? Yeah, I said it. Frustration can kick in because we look for multiplication now. We want big numbers and fast. God may give you people that need a longer investment. It’s worth it. They are not machines. Movements are controlled by the Holy Spirit not methods. If you have five men you are investing and work and have a family, that is awesome! Your plate is full. Train, equip, encourage, listen, and see what God does.
Therefore, we set intentional goals. We must look long term and begin asking God what he wants for each person we are pouring into. We must tell our people what to expect and be clear and consistent. Here are some goals to consider:
• Cycle of Discipleship – understanding pattern of disciple being made and multiplication
• The role of a disciples and God’s role (Father, Son and Holy Spirit)
• Understanding the process of finding and making disciples
• The role of abiding, faithfulness and obedience
• Self-feeding and accountability
• Healthy disciple (marks of a disciple)
• Healthy church (marks of the church)
• One-on-one and triads (2or3)
• Field work – take disciple with into the field (watch, assist)
• Rotation of teaching from books connected to APEST (Ephesians 4:11)
• Leadership – becoming a spiritual father or mother
These goals are not comprehensive, but it is core to every follower of Jesus. Remember the time it takes to seek, serve, sharpen and send is different for every-1. Some will take what they have received and run with it. Some will run away. Some will stay with you until Christ returns. Be encouraged. Stay the course and don’t lose sight of the goals.