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SELECTING A DISCIPLE-MAKER MESSAGE
Reading the Bible one may find many examples of discipleship relations in The Old as well as in The New Testament: for example, Jesus and Twelve Disciples, Paul and Timothy, and others. Nowadays, the main mission of the church is to observe how the disciples are performed. Pastors should not only tell people what to do but teach them how to follow God's Word. This paper is aimed at explaining and outlining the main principles of developing and implementing effective discipleship. The writing will not contain only advice from the book of Pastor David Mitchell, but examples from the Bible and articles, as well. Thus, it will create an opportunity to look at this problem from different points of view and later makeup such a discipleship strategy that will reflect God's Word fully.
Part 1. Sources and Forms of Disciple Making
Mitchell states that there are four sources of disciple-making: tradition, observation, participation, and inspiration. Michael R. Mitchell, Leading, Teaching, and Making Disciples: World-Class Christian Education in the Church, School and Home (Nashville: CrossBooks Publishing, 2010). Tradition is one of the main and most significant sources of the disciple; it is considered to be the oldest one, as well. Tradition comes from the old books that exist in a society and stories people hear from their ancestors. When speaking about Christianity, one always means the Bible as a means of tradition. Every disciple-maker should relate to the Bible as a traditional form because the Holy Book of Christians contains God's Word according to which every Christian should live. The importance of God's Word as a tradition one may see while reading the Bible. In 2 Peter, one reads: And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts; knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001), 2 Peter 1:19-21.
Paul has said that people have something surer that is the prophetic word, and they ought to follow this word and live accordingly. Besides the Bible, the tradition form relates to other sources, such as theological doctrines and books.
Observation, perhaps, maybe called one of the hardest parts of disciple-making. It requires the teacher not only to teach something to his or her students but also to observe them. Every student is unique; on the other hand, all those who believe in God are connected are the ones through their love to God and the ministry of the Holy Spirit. In the Bible, every person reads that Paul used to say those who believe in God have equal faith to them, the saints. Concluding those words, it is worth mentioning that every Christian has potential within him or her that is necessary for discipleship. Each Christian is spiritually rich for that from the very beginning. Thus, if there is such power inside every believer, it might become easier for a disciple-making teacher to help his or her learners know more.
Participation means that the teacher is involved in the process of teaching as much as one's students. The learners should not feel bored; every lesson is to be interesting and exciting. Therefore, the teacher is supposed to prepare for every lesson and allow the students experience what they learn. Practicing and being able to implement new knowledge in real life is the task every educator should set, especially one who is a disciple-making teacher.
Inspiration, which is called sometimes intuition, is the direction of the Holy Spirit when talking about disciple-making. In the Bible, one might find that God gives inspiration to those who have found the truth. When a person is willing to live like Jesus Christ, the Son of God, he or she will be inspired because it is impossible to live like Jesus without His help. The example of inspiration one may find in the Bible, as well:
The eye has not seen, nor ear heard,
Nor have entered into the heart of man
The things which God has prepared for those who love Him The Holy Bible, 1 Corinthians 2:9. (1 Corinthians 2:9)
Except for those sources of disciple-making, there are forms of the disciple-making message: subject matter, environment, life, and a teacher. The subject matter is the content of what a teacher wanted to say. It is not the word but the meaning of the text as a whole matter. As it is seen from the name of the form, environment means the surroundings where teachers and students are. This form is significant also because there are situations when a student might understand more when in a particular environment. Life experience is, perhaps, the toughest part of learning since it supposes that students learn how to implement the knowledge they get. This form of massage is the hardest as it involves students making mistakes and learning from them, and sometimes it is not so easy. The last form of the disciple-making message is a teacher or teacher experience. The teacher should show every student that one can live in discipleship on his or her own example, and it is not as difficult as it may seem from the very beginning. Teachers should become role models for the students.
Part 2. Developing a Lesson
Every disciple-making teacher is to develop his or her lessons accordingly to the principles that were explained above. First, a teacher should try to cover all four sources and forms during the lesson. This will allow him or her to make a lesson more variable and interesting for the students. Second, a teacher ought to give examples to every rule or principle he or she explains. This will help students understand more; the indicated type of work may, in some cases, substitute such form of a disciple-making message as life experience. Every disciple-making teacher is expected to observe disciple and live according to the Bible; hence, the students take him or her as a role model and try to live per God's Word. The last, but not the least, advice is that every teacher should try to find various methods of teaching so the students always feel good when at the lesson.
The paper was aimed at explaining the main sources and forms of disciple-making messages and how this knowledge may be applied in a real life. It became clear that a disciple-making teacher should relate to the Bible and other theological works as well as on his or her personal experience at a lesson. The point is that nowadays it is rather difficult to find someone who lives according to all disciple messages that may be found in the Bible. Thus, the task of every disciple-making teacher is to develop skills in every student so he or she becomes a rightful Christian and follows all disciple messages from the Holy Book.