How Jesus Taught His Disciples
1) Discipleship is possible in any church by using the most proven, time tested, and successful discipling process of all. The process Jesus, Paul, Peter and the early church used that was so effective: mentoring.
2) The biggest group Jesus ever spent a lot of time with was seventy; but He really focused on twelve. Sometimes those twelve were even reduced to three. Jesus did teach crowds, and He loved them and had compassion for them, but He trained the disciples. He did this by walking with them, eating with them, doing ministry with them, correcting them, and explaining why directly to them.
3) When Jesus taught multitudes that was not his preferred discipleship method. Jesus never discipled people in large groups. Probably because you can’t disciple people that way as it's not personal enough, and He could not give enough personal attention to each one.
4) When we do what Jesus told us to do, the power of the Holy Spirit kicks in and discipleship happens. It happens through relationships; through following someone else’s life example (Light of the world); and through solid biblical teaching.
5) Discipleship won't happen automatically, and it needs to be done intentionality. Jesus, Paul, Peter, and the early church did the best discipleship that the world has ever seen, and they didn’t have a classroom, program of study, or grades. What they had was relationships. Their relationships grew as they did ministry together. We should have a discipleship system that works on intentional relationships (mentors) that can produce disciples.
6) Let’s define the word "disciple." The Greek word mathetes (math-ay-tes') is the word that the Bible uses for “disciple,” and it means "learner." So, disciples are people who learn to be like Jesus and learn to do what Jesus did.
7) A disciple is someone who, over time, and with increased intentionality, has a life and ministry that looks more and more like the life and ministry of Jesus. They increasingly have His heart and character and can do the types of things we see Jesus doing. The New Testament demonstrates this, as we only need to examine the lives of the Disciples, who grew up, and matured into the Apostles, and the Church's they led. Over time, they looked more and more like Jesus.
8) The church started with 120 people in an upper room and increased to about half of the Roman Empire in about 250 years. This was accomplished because Christians had a way of reproducing the life of Jesus in disciples who were able to do the things we read Jesus doing in the Gospels.
9) Today, if we are creating disciples who are far from the people we see in scripture as the rule, and not the exception, we must ask ourselves why this is this happening and how we can change it.
10) The reality of living more fully in the Kingdom of God is that we are being put back together through God’s grace; conforming more to the image of Jesus; having his heart and mind; and that the overflow of the Holy Spirit leads to Kingdom activity. That is why Jesus says, "Apart from me, you can do nothing."
11) Helping someone become like Jesus doesn’t start by talking to them, but by carefully listening to them. Jesus had many conversations. Jesus always listened even though He already knew what they would say, and already knew what they really needed. He was a good listener. He had conversations where he listened to people’s ideas, situations, fears and hopes.
12) When we pay attention we learn things, like what gifts, skills, and character qualities God gives people. Then we can apply the most important advantage mentoring has; we personalize it. We bond with each other and become a part of what anchors that person to our church. Anchoring provides roots; which provide time; which allow us to tend and water the immature Christian to help them grow and mature. Once they mature, then they can go forth and mentor the next generation.
13) Discipling doesn’t just create biblically knowledgeable Christians; it also raises up new disciplers. Mature Christians will create more hands to help PCF accomplish the work of Jesus Christ and His Church. How exciting to think of the leaders that the Holy Spirit just might bring forth by a Discipling program! How much value from even a single mature Christian.