Parents pass on their values to their kids. Teachers and coaches pass on their knowledge to their students. At work, senior employees and managers pass on their skills to younger employees. Our society is built on healthy mentoring relationships. This is also God’s plan for developing Christians. Every Christian is a disciple of Jesus. This means that they follow Jesus and allow him to direct their lives. And an important part of following Jesus is to become a disciple maker.
Discipleship Is a Gift to Give to Others
In the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20), Jesus commanded all Christians to make disciples. Later in the New Testament, we find a picture of how this is supposed to work:
2 Timothy 2:1-2 Timothy, my dear son, be strong through the grace that God gives you in Christ Jesus. You have heard me teach things that have been confirmed by many reliable witnesses. Now teach these truths to other trustworthy people who will be able to pass them on to others.
Paul was Timothy’s mentor. He viewed Timothy as his spiritual son. Paul took a great interest in Timothy and wanted to make sure that he was fully equipped to make disciples. Paul understood that the message of salvation and the Christian life were wonderful gifts that God had given him to pass on to others. Paul wanted to make sure that Timothy understood that he was supposed to pass on everything he learned about Jesus to others.
In the same way, God wants every Christian to pass on the gift of following Jesus that they have received from others. We talk about discipleship as going full circle in your pursuit of God. This involves three parts: trusting Jesus in every area of life, honoring God with obedience, and helping others pursue him. This full circle pursuit of God is what we can pass on to others.
Discipleship Best Happens Through Mentoring
What’s the best way for a person to grow as a disciple? It’s not by taking a class, reading books, or listening to sermons. The best way to grow as a disciple is through mentoring. Paul mentored Timothy. And Timothy mentored others. This was also the style of Jesus. He mentored his 12 disciples for three years and then released them to mentor others. Mentoring happens through real life relationships.
Disciples Make Other Disciple-Makers
It’s important that we understand what God is teaching us in these verses. Timothy wasn’t finished mentoring until the people he mentored were ready to mentor others. And Paul wasn’t finished coaching Timothy until he had made disciples who made other disciples. The PursueGOD resources particularly focus on this aspect of discipleship. They are designed to help you make disciple-makers.
This idea of making disciple-makers can seem so hard and even a bit scary to most people. This is why Paul reminded Timothy that he wasn’t alone in this effort. Jesus was with him, and Jesus is with you, too. So today is the time to start making disciples. Are you ready to get in the game?
- Watch the video together or invite someone to summarize the topic.
- What’s something that your parents wanted to make sure that they passed on to you? What’s something that you want to make sure that you pass on to your kids?
- What is a disciple? How is being a disciple of Jesus different than being a disciple of a great philosopher or teacher?
- Read 2 Timothy 2:1-2. Why do you think this passage starts with the charge to be “strong through the grace that God gives you”? What does this tell us about the task of making disciples?
- Read Matthew 28:18-20. What is the significance of the fact that Jesus’ final command to his followers was to make disciples?
- Read 2 Timothy 2:1-2 again. Describe or drawn out the plan for discipleship that Paul writes about in this passage. How is this different than other ways that Christians try and make disciples?
- What makes the idea of mentoring and making disciplemakers seem impossible or scary?
- Who is God leading you to mentor today? Share the name with your group and pray for each other as you go out and mentor others.
- Write a personal action step based on this conversation.