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What or Who Is a Disciplemaker?

Updated: Feb 7, 2019

We’ve already mentioned that the disciplemaking resources typically available are those dealing with “Basic Doctrines and Disciplines.” We’ve noted that these resources almost always talk about the Great Commission and call the person to become a disciplemaker by using this same resource to help someone else learn the “Basic Doctrines and Disciplines.”

If the person reproduces in this way, is he or she a disciplemaker? Why or why not?

Based solely on the situation as I’ve described it and having observed this model in operation for many years, I would answer, “Probably NOT.” Let me explain with an illustration.

When I was writing the first draft of this book, my granddaughter Abigail was about to have her fourth birthday. She could count to three-digit numbers and had known her alphabet for nearly two years. In fact, she was reading fluently.

Abby could teach a neighbor child to count and say the alphabet. She was already helping her sister, Olivia, to do so. Olivia was turning two the next month.

But was Abby ready to go out and live life successfully? Was she ready to be responsible for her own life? Could she help Olivia to the point of doing the same? Of course not. Abigail needed many more years of intentional instruction and training in order to adequately put the letters of the alphabet together into words and sentences and paragraphs so as to understand and articulate complex ideas. She needed to master arithmetic and algebra and other math in order to use numbers to define and solve real-life problems.

The most critical and beneficial things for Abby to have then – and even now – were a vision for becoming all God has made her to be, the humility to know she has much to learn and far to go in order to attain this, and the desire and passion to get there. If she has these, real schooling and incredible growth can begin and will be realized.

The most critical things a person needs as he or she completes the “Basic Doctrines and Disciplines” are very similar to what Abby needs, namely:

  • a vision for becoming a mature disciple of Jesus Christ

  • a picture of what that looks like

  • the humility to know he or she needs a total “renewing of the mind” (transformation) to get there

  • the “stake-driving,” “blank-check-writing” surrender to follow Jesus.

If the person has these, real disciplemaking and incredible growth can begin and will be realized.

Sadly, few people who are “discipled” through the basics end up with these. They just complete the course and then move on. Only a very few will try to reproduce by repeating the process with another person. Why? Because all too often the people who “discipled” them didn’t have these four qualities either. However well-intentioned the supposed “disciplemakers” may have been, they weren’t mature disciples themselves. They weren’t even in the process of going from Established Believer to Mature Disciple through the experience of being discipled by someone who is a Mature Disciple.

The whole scenario is evidence of three truths:

  • We can’t take others where we have not gone.

  • We can only reproduce what we are.

  • We can’t be, or claim to be, what we have not become.

All of this is why I said, "Probably not." But that raises another question: Can a person begin disciplemaking (i.e., helping someone else become an Established Believer or grow toward becoming a Mature Disciple) before he himself is a Mature Disciple (i.e., has completed the disciplemaking process)?

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