When we train leaders and disciplemakers, we give them this list of the “Be”attitudes of Disciplemaking. Undoubtedly it will change over the years. Things will be added, maybe things will be taken away. It isn’t an exhaustive list, just some things to think about. I hope it is helpful.
Maybe the most important thing we can do when entering into a discplemaking relationship with someone is to pray. Pray for guidance, peace, direction, humility, and anything else you can think of. I remember hearing preachers when I was a boy speak of bathing things in prayer. I never really understood what that meant until I had need to do it. They meant to pray for some thing, some event, some person over and over. They rightly believed that prayer changes things.
Be on time
This one seems small, but is important. It shows you respect the other person’s time and you are willing to set boundaries on your own. Having time boundaries is also helpful in focusing the conversation, deadlines have a way of doing that.
Disciplemaking meetings often take place in public places. They can also sometimes cover personal material. It is a good idea to know your surroundings. If covering potentially personal material, be thoughtful of who could possibly overhear your conversation.
If you are working through material, be ready. Read through the material before the session. Making disciples, including birthing new believers into the Kingdom, is the most important ministry in which we are privileged to engage. Don’t try to wing it. If you can’t prepare, either postpone or be honest and own it. Spend the time learning more about each other. After all, the relationship is the foundation for the disciplemaking.
Be a listener
James 1:!9 encourages us to be quick to hear and slow to speak. Truthfully, I struggle greatly in this area. I love to talk to people. I love to tell stories. It is often an act of discipline for me to stop talking and listen. You can learn a great deal about someone’s life and situation, even their relationship with the Lord, if you take the time to listen to them. Also be careful not to simply listen to respond, but listening to understand. These are very different concepts.
Sort of. New or new to the faith believers often find excuses or “reasons” to miss your meetings or simply do not do the work and are repeatedly unprepared. It is important for the discipler to make some concessions if the circumstances are truly unavoidable, but be on the lookout for disinterested excuses.
This applies to your own walk with Christ, to your meeting, and your schedule. Consistency often makes the meetings possible. If each of you know that at a set time on a set day each of you will be expecting something from the other, then the chances of the meeting happening, and the preparation being done, goes up significantly.
Be ready spiritually
Our enemy, as you know, is prowling around. He does nothing but kill, steal, and destroy. As you step onto the battle field of making disciples, our adversary will not be pleased. it is important for any soldier to be ready for battle, and raising up the next generation of disciples can certainly be that, spiritually speaking. Spiritual warfare is a real thing and one not taken lightly. Make sure your spiritual affairs are in order before the meeting.
A dear friend of mine once reminded me, “you're not Jesus.” Truly, he was right. I have found some of the most formative times in my walk with the Lord to be those where I was responsible for teaching or leading someone else. It is also great to see the disciple surpass the discipler in knowledge and understanding. Sure, this may be a shot to old ego, but it is a great thing to see, as one of disciplers once told me, “to see their taillights as they pass you on the road to sanctification.” The joy of the teacher is surely bound in the success of the student. Be ready to become the student over and over and over again.
Be in step
I believe it is crucial, and biblical, for believers to be plugged into a local manifestation of the global body of Christ. Having said that, it is noteworthy to mention that you should be in good standing and in doctrinal step with the leadership and confessions of the body you are serving. The leadership of the congregation are the God-appointed and Divinely-empowered shepherds of your soul. Yes, they are broken human beings, too, but intentionally serving under their shepherding leadership is both right and good. Make sure you are in agreement as you help to build disciples in their flock.
One of the most important things to remember is to be willing; wiling to start, willing to risk, willing to fail, willing to learn, willing to be used up and poured out for the sake of the Gospel and spiritual multiplication.
It has been my privilege in nearly 25 years of ministry to be able to disciple and be discipled. I wouldn’t accept any amount of money, fame, or prestige in exchange for the invaluable lessons learned in these formative times.