by Peter Swann
As our Lord was about to ascend from this earth, His last words were on discipleship. The command to make disciples of all people was His Great Commission to His followers. Discipleship is to be a core element to our being.
Yet few of us are discipled and as a result, few know how to disciple others. We often leave the business of transformation to the church, hoping that perhaps Sunday services or Bible studies will transform lives. The truth is that typically nothing brings about as much change as small group discipleship.
As a general rule, the smaller the group, the more that transformation will occur. The better the transparency, the more that transformation will occur. And the more the intentionality, the more that transformation will occur.
This is why small groups are vital. This is also why one-on-one relationships are critical. Jesus’ model of discipleship remains our model of discipleship, teaching the masses but going especially deep with a small group around each of us.
What Jesus also modeled was discipleship on the go. These days, most of our discipleship conversations are about formal discipleship relationships. Those are certainly to be highly affirmed and esteemed and nurtured. Yet much of Jesus’ discipleship happened in passing, perhaps in the way He related to someone or handled a situation. In everything that He did, He modeled for those around Him.
Each person that we meet each day is an opportunity for us to disciple. We can exemplify how to love and how to care and how to gently speak truth and how to encourage. As we minister, we also disciple. We can look for opportunities to turn someone’s weaknesses into strengths, in the process growing them as a disciple – and modeling for them how to turn others into greater disciples. Discipleship opportunities abound for each of us each day.
Perhaps this is nowhere more clear than in our prayers. As we pray with others, our prayers are an opportunity for discipleship. What we pray, how we pray, when we pray… our interaction with our Father is a profound model for other believers around us. I’m not sure that there is any greater discipleship tool than praying together.
So, in formal and informal ways, each day we are called to be disciple-makers. We’re intentional about nurturing the formal, but also daily looking for the informal. And we don’t have to look far to contribute to the fulfillment of Christ’s last command. What a joy and gift it is that discipleship opportunities each day are right before us.