Stan Rodda: Recently I asked disciple makers on Instagram what their #1 struggle in disciple making was. I wanted to know what people on the front lines are wrestling with when it comes to making disciples. One of the first responses I got was about getting to 4th generation disciples.
“I only have one guy right now,” he said. “I’m looking for that next level type of discipleship.”
For those involved in making disciple makers, getting to multiple generations is a huge prayer and goal. We want the Gospel of Jesus to spread to all people. We crave for it to move well beyond us. This is a worthwhile goal and vision because it is one that Paul shares with us in 2 Timothy 2:2…
And what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, commit to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. [HCSB]
At the end of the day there is only one level of discipleship; obedience to King Jesus in all things who has been given all authority in heaven and on earth by God the Father! Focus on that and you will get to reproducing disciples to multiple generations. With that in mind, here are some practical thoughts and ideas to help you get to the next generation of disciple makers.
Press Into Obedience!
Reproducing disciples are born out of obedience to King Jesus. There is no way around it. The more we press into obedience, the more we become like Christ and the more our heart beats in alignment with his. As we seek and desire to see generations of disciples being made in our time, we must never forget the beginning of it is obedience. We must constantly be taking an assessment of how we are doing ourselves in this area.
What areas of your life need to be more fully surrendered in obedience to Jesus?
Is there an area of unconfessed sin?
What is holding you back from doing more of what God asks?
What do I need to repent of and begin to walk in God’s truth?
So much of disciple making can be summed up in modeling the right behaviors. If you aren’t modeling confession and continued obedience, you aren’t going to be able to reproduce that in another disciple. Taken to its logical end; your disciples won’t press into obedience and won’t be able to help others press into obedience either. Once you stop pressing into obedience yourself, you effectively end the possibility of a reproducing movement of disciple makers. As the old adage goes…
You can’t lead anyone else to where you aren’t willing to go!
Be Faithful With the One God Gives You!
Jesus calls this “faithful with little, faithful with much.” When you show yourself to be faithful with the one God has given you, you will naturally receive more. This can often be twisted into earthly blessings, that God is promising more blessings when I’m faithful with some others, but that’s not the reality. The reality is that when I am faithful with those God has given me to disciple, He leads me to more. And here’s what it looks like to be faithful practically.
Think of all the “one another” passages in Scripture. Now be that kind of person for your disciple.
Bear their burdens
Pray for them
If you want life on life discipleship, the kind that Jesus had with His disciples, then you must be faithful with the ones God has given you. In essence, you must view your disciples the way Jesus viewed His. And His view and aim was to be faithful with those God had given Him. And He was.
While I was with them, I was protecting them by Your name that You have given Me. I guarded them and not one of them is lost, except the son of destruction, the one destined for destruction so that the Scripture may be fulfilled. [John 17:12 HCSB]
Focus on a Healthy Disciple First!
A healthy disciple hears God’s voice and obeys. As they take steps of obedience they begin to transform and mature. In their maturity, they are able to reproduce that in someone else and make more disciples.
Early on in the process, it is not like this. Children are immature and unable to reproduce. Only mature adults can reproduce. Spiritual children are the same: immature and unable to reproduce. If you want to get to generations of disciples, focus on a healthy first disciple. A maturing disciple will develop in these key areas:
Daily abiding with Christ through Scripture
Hearing God’s voice in Prayer
Taking immediate steps of obedience when God calls
As they continuously hear God’s voice and take more steps of obedience, they will mature and multiply. But you can’t get to 4th generation disciples without a 1st generation disciple.
Embed Multiplication DNA Immediately!
Your disciple may not be at the level of obedience where they are ready to multiply yet to another person. Sometimes that’s okay and sometimes the root of their disobedience needs to be rooted out. That said, multiplication DNA must be established immediately. Even if they struggle with the ability, they must always know that’s the direction we are headed.
“We will multiply to others…”
“We will share with others…”
“Who is in your life right now that…”
“Who are you praying for right now that…”
You want them to be thinking outward focused right away. To get to generations of disciples, we must move rapidly toward having eyes and a heartbeat for lost people. Your disciple needs a gen map (Oikos Map) immediately. Who are the people that God has already uniquely positioned them to reach. They need to be praying for God to go before them to those people from the start. The more their heart is burdened for lost people, the more likely they are to multiply to another person.
These are four imperatives that come to mind when I think about getting to reproducing disciples. What are some other areas you believe we must focus on to achieve multiplication? What else must we do to see the completion of the Great Commission in our day?
Let’s take Kingdom territory!