Making Disciples from Ephesians

9 Apr

I have been thinking a lot about helping others disciple others.

What do I want to do as we plant this church? I want to make disciples. Bottom line. Glorify God by making disciples. I don’t want to simply gather a crowd, I want to make disciples. It’s easy to go at this the wrong way round, for sure, trying to gather a crowd who show up on Sundays, but if I focus first on that, I don’t think I am going to be very effective in making disciples. On the other hand, if I work on making disciples, I am pretty convinced we’ll get a real church that’s actually living like a church should. I like how someone put it, “if you make disciples you get the church, if you make a church you rarely make disciples.”

To accomplish all this though, I am realizing that it’s not enough for me to simply disciple others, I need to train those I am discipling to disciple others.

I am realizing though what’s been lacking, I think in that process for me, are two things. First, simple, reproducible kinds of tools that I can put in the hands of the people I am discipling which they will be able to use when they are going out to disciple others. And along with that, second, a kind of an overarching structure that I can see, this is our basic plan for intentional discipleship.

It’s sort of like with a budget.

We’ve had a budget for years now and it’s worked fine, but this past month we began a new budgeting program that enables me to write down everything we spend and also to track our money more easily. Wow. What a difference. The difference is not so much that now we have a budget and then we didn’t, we did; the difference is how easily I can see what’s happening, where we are going, and actually apply some of the basic principles that were in my head already.

I think that’s what I am talking about wanting to develop better for our church. The discipleship is happening, big time, more than I have seen in a lot of places; but I would like to take it to the next level with a clearer structure and helpful tools which will enable people to really cover the basics with confidence as they disciple others and see where they are going.

So I am going to work on that.

I am working on that.

I have been reading a book on building a discipling culture which gives a number of practical, helpful ideas; they even lay out a basic overview of specific areas that people need to be discipled in and then a process for doing that.

I began thinking though about how the apostle Paul might have done that, since we already have a discipleship manual written by God called the Bible, what would someone like Paul have focused on and of course my mind went to Ephesians. Now I am going to skip over the first few chapters right now, though I don’t think I will when I am finished, but right now I am just beginning in chapter 4, when it comes to character where did Paul start?

He begins with the church.
He then describes the process of Christian growth.
And then he starts walking them through fundamental ways the gospel should change the way they act.
I guess since we are at it, we might as well go back and add chapters 1 through 3 to the beginning, in a very general way – there’s much more we should say than this, but for now we could say that Paul starts with the gospel, then moves to the church, then to the process of Christian growth, then fundamental ways the gospel should change the way they act.

That’s not a bad basic discipleship course, is it?

Gospel.
Church.
How Change Happens.
Transformed living.

Now we can make all of this more specific. Like for example, when Paul begins talking about transformed living, what issues does he hit on? This could provide a basic overview of where we could go in our discipling of others. We don’t really have to make this up.

1. Truth
2. Anger
3. Work
4. Speech
5. Conflict
6. Love
7. Sexual Purity
8. Redeeming the time
9. Spiritual Relationships
10. Marriage
11. Family
12. Submission and leadership
13. Spiritual warfare
14. Prayer

That wouldn’t be a bad fourteen weeks, would it? To take the gospel, look at what we believe, and think very carefully about what habits and ways of thinking we need to put off in regards to every one of these issues and what we need to deliberately working on putting on and I think to help with that, in the days and weeks to come, I am going to try to provide some reproducible kinds of worksheets that you could use in your discipleship of others which will help you work through some of these issues that the apostle Paul addresses.

Hope it helps! (Someone once said that if something is worth doing, it is worth doing badly. And I figure, I can at least start out there!)

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One Response to “Making Disciples from Ephesians”

  1. Dr Chris Keathly April 10, 2012 at 6:04 pm #

    Great Word brother. Don’t forward many blogs but I think this is excellent. Appreciate you guys and hope all is well. Drop me a line and let me know how we can be praying!

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