How do I start when it comes to discipleship?

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Many people have asked me the question; “How do I start when it comes to discipleship?”
Personally I always look for discipleship principles in God’s Word: In this case the story of Elijah and Elisha. In working with people I also realized, that discipleship is not only hard work, but it includes a risk as well. Not everybody you work with turns into a success story. I discovered that there is no ‘waterproof’ formula for discipleship. You can however increase your success rate, by making sure that your disciple meets some of the criteria found in the story of Elijah and Elisha.

The first thing we need to understand is that we don’t pick our disciple, but it’s God’s choice. Elijah did not choose Elisha, but God had allready appointed him to become his successor (1 Kings:16).

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as prophet to the nations.” -Jeremiah 1:4, 5

Secondly you need to take a close look at the candidate for 4 characteristics that you want your disciple to have or able to develop;

Work hard: You want to make sure the person is willing to work hard, there is nothing more draining than a lazy person. You use so much energy by pushing the individual and most of the time you end up doing the work yourself. Before you even consider working with someone like this, make sure they develop first some work ethics. Elisha was working as Elijah came looking for him, he was plowing (1 Kings 19:19).

Follow: A disciple needs to be able to follow the leader, and at the same time follow within a team setting. Can you imagine working with a Maverick, it will not only frustrate the leader but also the team. Elisha was following with his pair of oxen and worked together with eleven other drivers (1 Kings 19:19).

“In order to become a great leader,you first need to be a great follower.”

Sacrifice: There will be times where it is required to give up on things, making sacrifices for the greater good. My definition of sacrifice is; to give up something of value to gain something else of greater value. Elisha had to leave his Family and gave up his source of income to follow the Prophet in order to become a Prophet with the double anointing (1 Kings 19:21).

Serve: When Elisha’s time came as Elijah’s successor what was his reputation?
“Elisha son of Shaphat is here. He used to pour water on the hands of Elijah” (2 Kings 3:11) After all the years of being with Elijah he was simply known as the attendant (1 Kings 19:21).

The third criteria is, that the person has to be able to make a choice to become your disciple, you can not disciple somebody that does not want to be worked with or does not know you are working with him or her. One time I was asking some of the guys I discipled; “So who do you disciple?” As they gave me a list with names, I approached these so called disciples. “Who disciples you?” was my question to them. After I compared both of their answers it was funny to see that the lists did not completely matched up with each other.

“You are not the leader unless they say you are the leader”

3 Comments

Filed under Discipleship 101

3 responses to “How do I start when it comes to discipleship?

  1. Robert Muro

    I see that last comment so much more now. It’s crazy that we actually try to take credit for the people that God brings into our lives. One thing that has really helped me over the years was that you taught me never to “disciple to myself.” I think that is one of the most dangerous things a person or leader could ever do. Those disciples are God’s disciples. I like how you said that God choses who we disciple. We really have to be in tune with God to even know where to begin or who to begin with.

    But that is something that I really try to do…and it’s hard. You really have to be careful who you say you’re working with…because they might not even think you’re working with them. And then you try to take credit for someone elses work. Pointless. I want my life to count.

    I love those four characteristics you mentioned pastor. It’s like Elijah poured himself into Elisha to get him to the point to serve. That’s awesome when I think about it. We’re called to raise up servants. Loving these blogs pastor. These are like short articles and outlines of a book that you’re putting together or something. Trying to use Jay’s computer from time to time to keep up with your blogs pastor. I need to try to start one too!

  2. Josh Patterson

    I love hearing you talk about the story of Elijah and Elisha. Always one of my favorites. I learned a lot about discipleship from this story. There is so much that we can take out of this story. I agree with Robert, You should write a book on Discipleship. I know it would be a great one!

  3. Jesus, please give that UTC to the Netherlands!

    Wow pastor, I’m blessed and excited to hear that you and your family are in Europe and I believe it’s the right moment. It’s now the time to break the boundaries and to take of the limits. There is a new and fresh wave of the Spirit moving through V.O. europe, praise Him!

    WE GOT (RECEIVED) MOMENTUM BABY!

    God bless you all!

    Willem

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