Leadership Lessons: Discipling People in the Ways of the Lord

2 Tim 3:10 clearly shows that Paul didn't only teach Timothy the message and doctrine about God. He also involved him personally in doing the work, including the hard stuff.

I will never forget the day as a UCCF staffworker I first worked with a guy called Mark Baker (now a rector somewhere. Hi Mark, if you are reading - hope you are still going for it as you were that day!). I was booked to speak at a lunchtime freshers event at a university in London, but the room booking fell through. The CU said they had no other options, but that if I wanted (and they secretly really hoped I didn't want), I could preach standing on a bench in the quad to anyone who would listen. 

To cut a long story short we went for that, though it turned out to be pretty difficult and I am not sure it was particularly fruitful (not as difficult as preaching standing on a uni bar with bottles being thrown at you, but that's another story!). However, one thing that was very fruitful was that Mark was with me for the first time as an Associate Staffworker from a local church. He watched how difficult it was, watch me struggle and then said "that looks hard, can I have a go now? I have to start learning sometime."

He did well, got no better response than me, but after that we were in it together. He didn't have to. He could have just watched, thought to himself that it obviously wasn't bearing fruit when I did it, so not to have a go himself. But he wanted to learn and wanted to be 100% involved in witnessing to God in that place.


There are three things to include in discipling other people: teaching them, apprenticing them and immersing them. We can refer to the first as discipling people in the truths of the Lord and the latter two as discipiling people in the ways of the Lord. We need to do both these things, but the latter means actually getting them doing something.

Discipling in the ways of the Lord doesn't necessarily have to be as overtly evangelistic as standing preaching on a bench, but it does force us to ask the question: what is the DNA of discipleship? At rock bottom what do we want to teach people to do? Mike Brean has this helpful list in his excellent Building a Discipling Culture (only available on Kindle in teh UK at the time of writing):

  1. How to be life-long learners of Jesus who ask the question "what is God teaching me and what am I going to do about it?"
  2.  How to prayer
  3. How to grow relationships of depth - how to relate up to God, in to other believers for discipleship and out to non-believers in witness
  4. How to developing discipleship-oriented rhythms of life
  5. How to multiplying disciples
  6. How to discover your ministry as a missional disciple
  7. How to participate and contribute to your spiritual family
  8. How to participate in mission

OK, it's not an exhaustive list. But if every leader taught a group of other believers to do these things - and to teach others how to do them - our leadership effectiveness would go through the roof.

Why do leaders not disciple? Why don't you do it? Is it a matter of gifting, priorities, time or lack of desire? If Christians aren't actuvely growing as disciples it may be it is because we aren't actively growing them. There is no point getting frustrated as leaders with other people's apparent lack of desire to do the work of the gospel if we don't teach and release them. 

Think hard to day about discipling people in the ways of the Lord as well as in the truths of the Lord.