I indicated in my last blog that if you and/or your church do not exhibit at least the first three of the following traits, it usually indicates the need for discipleship. I will now describe a spiritual parent.
- Sharing: Nurturing spiritual infants
- Connecting: Guiding spiritual children
- Ministering: Training spiritual young adults
- Discipling: Releasing spiritual parents
Here is a biblical definition of a spiritual parent or discipler, "Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men” (Matthew 4:19).
- "Come, follow me" is the invitation.
- "I will make you" is the transformation of one's mind into the likeness of Jesus (Romans 12:2).
- "Fishers of men" is the Great Commission, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28: 19-20).
It is critical that we use a unified definition of a spiritual parent so the church does not become divided in its understanding and application of discipleship!
The following words best describe the fourth stage of a disciple's life:
- Intentionally reproducing disciples: Discipleship doesn't happen by chance. Rather, it is intentionally established by a spiritual parent who is released to disciple people who in turn will disciple other people.
- Creating relational environments: A spiritual parent intentionally creates a relational environment which is most conducive for discipleship. This environment includes friendly people who are transparent with one another, showing care and compassion beyond the meetings, and contacting those people who are absent.
- Utilizing a reproducible process: A spiritual parent uses a well thought out strategy in which to disciple a person from a spiritual infant into a spiritual parent; someone who will reproduce the process in the lives of other people. TDM uses the reproducible process closely mirroring Jesus' method. The result is changing the lives of many people!
The results of discipleship include an inner peace of living a lifestyle that:
- God is there as Abba Father, when you need fathering.
- He is there as the answer when your uncertain and have questions.
- He is there as defender and deliverer when you feel attacked.
- He is there as a faithful friend when you feel alone.
In my next blog entry I will continue describing what the life of a disciple looks like from Jesus' perspective.
Taken from Real-Life Discipleship Training Manual by Jim Putman, Avery T. Willis Jr., Brandon Guindon, and Bill Krause. Copyright © 2010 by Jim Putman, Avery T. Willis Jr., Brandon Guindon, and Bill Krause. Used by permission of NavPress. All rights reserved. Represented by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.