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Think Marathon, Not Sprint!

By: Stan Rodda

It’s amazing the places you can learn truths about disciple making when you are aware enough to pay attention. I was reminded of a disciple making truth recently when I was watching my 15 year old son workout. He has been wanting to get bigger, faster, stronger. He’s a high school boy and made JV lacrosse at his high school. He wants to grow as an athlete and I’m sure wants to look good for the girls at his school as an ulterior motive. We don’t have a lot of weights at our house and I don’t have a gym membership anywhere, so I encouraged my son to get creative. And creative he got.

He has been making weight plates out of concrete mix and five gallon buckets. He is using zip ties and small dumbbells to tie to a barbell for shoulder and bench press. He’s watching everything on YouTube he can to learn about getting stronger and faster. He implements everything he sees and gives it a try. Over the last year or so of watching him do this, I am beginning to see the signs. He is a little bigger. He’s gotten a lot stronger. He’s definitely faster. The results are starting to show up. But it has taken a year to even begin to see.

That’s where the disciple making truth comes in…

When it comes to disciple making, you must think marathon, not sprint!

Hebrews gives us a glimpse into this truth.

Therefore, since we also have such a large cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us lay aside every hindrance and the sin that so easily ensnares us. Let us run with endurance the race that lies before us, keeping our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer an perfecter of our faith. [Hebrews 12:1, 2 CSB]

I get it. You want results…TODAY! You’re direct. You’re hard charging. You have goals and a vision for your church or ministry. You want to take your neighborhood, city, state and globe for God by tomorrow afternoon. I want results too. Results show you that you’re headed in the right direction and that you’re doing right things. I’m with you.

Unfortunately, like many things, disciple making doesn’t work that way. When I want to lose weight and get in shape, I must plan for the long haul. I can’t eat right for one day, do a few pushups, run around the block and expect my body to respond the next morning. I won’t wake up with chiseled pecs, six-pack abs and rippling biceps. I’ll wake up sore and hangry. I must get after it again that day, and then the next day, and the next day, and…you see where this is going.

You won’t have a disciple making movement tomorrow after one day of talking about it. You aren’t necessarily going to win your city to Jesus by this afternoon just because you talk about making disciples one time. As with most things, results simply don’t show up that way. You have to push again today, and then the next day, and then the next day, and…you see where this is going.

After six months, a year or five years of this constant pushing toward movement, you will start seeing results. It might take time, but the effort expended to get to this level of spiritual maturity and depth will make a much healthier disciple making movement in the long run. In order to get there, I must constantly be asking God, “What’s my next step? What step of obedience can I take today?”

Obey Today

When you spend time with God in your secret place, in the quiet, early morning hours (or whenever you spend your time with God), ask the question, “God, what step of obedience would you have me take today?”

What sin do I need to confess?

What attitude do I need to change?

What in my life must I change to walk in better alignment with You?

When God gives you the answer…obey! Confess your sin. Change your attitude. Make amends where needed. Love your spouse differently. Love your kids well. Change how you lead. Whatever it is that God is asking you to do in your own discipleship, take the step of obedience.

You can only lead a disciple making movement as far as you are willing to obey God in your own personal life!

Help Your Disciples Obey Today

Share with your disciples what God is telling you to do. Share your plans for obedience and ask for accountability. Then ask them how God is speaking to them.

What next step is God calling them to reach?

Who is God asking them to share with?

When is God asking them to do it?

Help them hear God’s voice and obey in their own life. As you are moving toward obedience, growing spiritually and reaching people with the Gospel of Jesus in your own life and as God does the same in the life of your disciples, you will see depth and growth. You will see the movement beginning to form and grow. It will take some time, but it will absolutely be worth it.

The journey toward a disciple making movement looks so much more like a marathon than a sprint! May you hear God’s voice today and obey. May you help someone you are leading do the same.

Let’s take Kingdom territory!

Source: Think Marathon, Not Sprint!