To be effective in ministry now and as always we need to look at what the Bible says. We need to see that Jesus had a plan and that he did not do things just as they fell in line. He was in control, He was listening to the Father and the Father had a plan from the foundation of the world. Jesus did not pick whom he did to disciple by mistake. He did not have them wait in Jerusalem because it felt like the thing to do. He did not send them out without already mentoring and training them for the job, the question is how did He train and how did He disciple?
Our command in Matthew 28:18-20 is intended to get us to the world and to obey Jesus, but this is not where Jesus began making disciples. He had been doing it all along, training them without them really understanding what He was actually doing. The vision of all churches is the same. It is to make disciples. All of the rest of the things we do is because we are making disciples. Our goal is to “hasten” the coming of the Lord (2Peter 3:12), to reach the whole world with the presence and the power of the Father. The message of repentance and salvation, healing, deliverance, and faith is not new. Our problem is the tendency to form religious programs instead of doing the Gospel. We always want to create empires and not community. The first church was community, not organized religion. A sense of community develops a place for everyone.
People do the things that benefit them and are satisfying a need in their lives. People do not do things with all of their heart if they get no reward from it. They may do it but it will be with reluctance. How did Jesus get the disciples to do the things He wanted? He met a need in their heart, a cry that was within them. Jesus did not get them to do something that was not in the heart of each of them. He intrigued them. He led them to believe in Him by creating in them a question, a thought that what they sought might be fulfilled in Him. People have not changed. If you want them to do things you must get them to see this thing that you want them to do is what they want to do. They have to be satisfied that they are being needed, fulfilled, and doing something that will make a difference.
(ministers in wrong place block view of Jesus and mission)
Our purpose, as ministers, is to edify and equip the body for ministry (Ephesians 4:11-16). We have to place ourselves under people to cause them to see Jesus needs them, and fulfill their desire, so that they can find the promises and have purpose to do what Jesus asks and wants.
If we place ourselves between them and Jesus they can’t see the goal nor the rewards. We have to bring the purpose of the Father to the minds and hearts of people along with the promises in such a way as to get them to buy into what Jesus has laid out to do. People will only do so much without being shown that they have a part and place in the plan of God.
Our Goal is to unite people with the promises and purpose of the Father in a way that will cause them to disciple others and empower the whole body to live, to have the life of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We are the link between the promises and people. We have to get back to being love and not trying to love. The apostles were examples, not just voices; they compelled people by the power that was evident in them. They led people to the naturally supernatural presence of the Lord and gave them a taste of the divine. Then they told them the kingdom was here. (Luke 10, Acts 2)
Discipling takes time and energy. Look back at the Lord and at some of the apostles. They spent time with the people they were training up. At first it is intense time but as the growth starts then the process will change and not require as much close mentoring. They can actually go by themselves to do things and they should. After that they can come and report and you can rejoice with them, as did Jesus and then help them understand about what they are doing not some doctrine you think is important.
What do you teach when discipling? What did the Lord teach? What did He do? How did He do it? A good teacher does not give his students something that they can find themselves. He is a director and question asker more than a giver. Jesus did a lot of modeling; yet, He also used them to help even as he taught. When the Lord left what did the disciples do? They followed what they had seen Jesus do. They did the miracles then told the people of the Lord. They followed the same type of teaching method. Do and then tell. They modeled obedience and taught it as the number one thing. The DNA you plant from the first meeting will be what and who they become. They will be hearers only or they will be doers depending on what you plant. If you can’t instill in them an excitement about doing prayer for others and reaching out to share the Word of the Lord what do you expect them to do? If Holy Spirit is not with you how will you teach them to have Holy Spirit? You can’t fake it.
Jesus spent 40 days praying before He picked His disciples, not a coincidence. Prayer is the first and always the thing that we must teach and do. In prayer we must teach the people to hear from God themselves. From the first we must show them we hear. It must be proven to them so they can expect the same. Then we teach obedience to the Father through the Holy Spirit. Just follow the steps of the Lord. He did it right. Trust him to help you train and mentor. He is great at it. Don’t do the same things with each disciple. Each one is unique in personality and gifts and needs to be treated as an individual.
Teach people to pray over new ground before trying to take it for the kingdom. Map out who or what area you want to take first, know what you are setting your mind to do. Know the strongholds and the weaknesses, the strengths — everything. Then pray with wisdom and see the Lord work, but do it all with your disciples. Train them while you see victory. Let them SEE the kingdom.
Last thought, there is no method. There is only listening and obeying.