Disciple-Making for Busy People

21 Mar

PTC Ministry Conference 2012
Session 8
Nello Barbieri

Mark 3:7-19

I want to answer your questions about discipleship.

There has been a really encouraging move by the Holy Spirit to look at ourselves over the last two days. I don’t want to do that. We’ve been encouraged to pray more. How do we do that? As a college, we want to be a place where you come to get help.

Discuss: What are the biggest obstacles you face to being an effective disciple-maker?

Time and lack of commitment from the potential disciples. We are sinful and lazy. I was never discipled myself. Gender differences.

Even if no one discipled you, there is hope.

Paul talked about growing mature people as giving birth. It hurts.

Where do I find the time? Perhaps you’re thinking of discipleship to narrowly. Peaching is never an end to itself. We preach because we want people to give their lives to Jesus and grow in him.

1. Prepare well. We aren’t just meant to teach people what Jesus said, but to obey what he said.

2. Make the time count to help people think like Jesus. Apply this in how we do committee meetings. It might be one small step, but it heads towards the right end.

People around Jesus wanted to kill him, wanted healing and help from him, and to hear from him so much he asked for an escape pod. The work was fruitful. Yet, he went away from it. He took the disciples away and prayed all night.

Two misconceptions:

First, we think we don’t have time for discipleship. If we’re too busy for discipleship, we’re too busy. If we’re not discipling, what are we doing? 

Second, discipleship is equated with a bible study and prayer. There is a activity beyond that.

How can we disciple?

1. Be a disciple. If Jesus can make time, we need to. Five years ago, I hit the wall in ministry. In the years running up to that, I was doing a lot of ministry work and God blessed it. As Joh Wilson told us this morning, we lose 25% of the guys who leave this place for the ministry. They forget spiritual formation.

We need to read the a bible and pray. Whenever I talk to the guy who lead me to Christ, the first thing he asks me is “How are you quiet times going?”. The next question is “Who have you spoken the Gospel to recently who isn’t a Christian?”

I’m a big one for Scripture memorisation. There’s no better way to change the mind than to eat the Bible.

Whenever I speak to others about their need for salvation because they face a Christless eternity, I become grateful. This our bread and butter.

What can we do?

A. Be earnest about your spiritual walk. When we study the Bible, this is God speaking to us personally.

B. Spend time in prayer. I find it hard, because I it is humiliating. Nothing speaks more about what we think of the sovereignty of God than how much we pray.

C. Let other carry burdens with you. Make connections with others to help.

D. Let God send you into the world.

2. Be A Disciple-Maker

A. Be convinced theologically.

I. Jesus – Mark 9:3-19
I. Jesus internalised. He worked on 12 people to make sure they got it. He knew he was dying. He wanted them to be deep, not broad.

II. He multiplied. To win the world, he worked on a small number of people who could reach the world.

B. Paul – Colossians 1:28-29
I struggle with all his strength that I may present everyone mature in Christ.

2 Timothy 2:2
What you have heard, entrust this to faithful men. When you pass on skills, do it in a way that they pass it on. In Jamie Oliver’s Ministry of Food, you cant come back for week two until you’ve taught someone what you learn in week one.

Ephesians 4:11-16
We need to train people to train others to disciple others wherever they are and whatever work they do.

3. How do I go about discipling someone?
The way will be different depending on who it is. Discipleship is relational. People will only ever go to programs because of who invites them. If we don’t have time for people, they won’t come to the program, or they’ll only come to one or two until something else comes along.

Select your candidate using FAT: Are they Faithful, Available and Teachable?

How: Read the Bible, Pray, Scripture Memory and Review.
What: The Gospel, Bible, Prayer, Fellowship and Witnessing.

We focus on all sorts of side issues and assume the Gospel. Wherever we are, whoever we talk to, find a way to make the Gospel central to whatever you’re doing.

A healthy discipling context will use preaching, small groups and one-on-one or one-on-two sessions.

4. Principles to practice
A. Focus on making disciples, not obtaining decisions. Look for repentance and growth. Focus on these people and help them reach the multitudes, but just decisions

B. Focus on individuals, not masses. The masses are important, but remember: masses are made up of individuals.

Three people were instrumental in me becoming a Christian. One was a teacher who was a crazy charismatic. I stole his Bible. My karate teacher decided in the middle of a trip to Adelaide to explain the difference between the pre and post tribulation raptures. The last one was Steve Lawson. He invests in me one on one and made me pass on what I learned.

C. Focus on intensive ministry, not extensive ministry.

D. Focus on people, onto programs. Spend you time worrying about people not property. God provides the money. Let’s not be so concerned about it. Money isn’t what we’re on about. So, we need to spend time on people. The problem is that the workers are few.

E. Focus on goals, not means. There are lots of books about what kind of church we should have, but not many about what kind of people God wants me to be.

The goal of Christian ministry is winning converts and building up Christians. If this is not what we’re doing, few are wasting our time and God’s resources. The questions isn’t how busy are we, but are we getting the job done?

Help people read their Bibles and understand them, pray and put into practice what they learn.


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"… What is your life? It is even a vapour that appears for a little time and then vanishes away." James 4:14.