We do not need more teaching in order to make disciples. If teaching alone was the answer, we have enough books, seminars, CD’s, retreats, and videos to disciple the planet. What we really need is people who will model the way of the King for others in everyday life.
Jesus & His Disciples
And he went up on the mountain and called to him those whom he desired, and they came to him. And he appointed twelve (whom he also named apostles) so that they might be with him and he might send them out to preach. Mark 3:13 – 14 ESV
Jesus hand picked twelve men and enrolled them in a two step process for carrying on His mission. The first part of the process was that they might be with Him. Why did they need to be with Him? To hear His teaching? Undoubtedly. However, He also wanted them to be with Him so they could observe how life is carried on in the Kingdom of God. How does one respond to their enemies under God’s rule? How does the Kingdom dictate that we interact with the poor, the broken, and the suffering? The disciples would have observed all of this as they watched Jesus in action. They got to see what His teaching looked like when it was put into practice.
The second part of the process was that they would be sent out to preach. Observing the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus would have equipped them to “go and do likewise.” More than just being sent with a message, they were sent out as models of the message. I’m fairly certain this is what Jesus had in mind when He told them to “go and make disciples” (Matthew 28:19). This is the pattern we should be following as well.
Now before you say, “Yeah, but that was Jesus,” let’s look at
Paul followed the example of the King as he discipled others. Look at what he wrote to Timothy, a young man he had taken under his wing (Acts 16:1 – 3).
You, however, have followed my teaching, my conduct, my aim in life, my faith, my patience, my love, my steadfastness, my persecutions and sufferings that happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, and at Lystra—which persecutions I endured; yet from them all the Lord rescued me. 2nd Timothy 3:10 – 11 ESV
Timothy had lived and ministered alongside the apostle Paul for many years. Besides listening to him teach, Timothy had also observed how Paul conducted himself as he ministered in various communities, dealt with problems in the churches, and faced all manner of tribulations. Paul was an example to Timothy of how the life of Christ was lived on in all the circumstances of life. Paul also encouraged Timothy to be a model himself.
Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity. 1st Timothy 4:12 NLT
Our Greatest Need
We don’t need another book on the basics of salvation. We need models of what a saved life looks like at home, on the job, at play, as well as in church. We don’t need more Bible schools. We need more Bibles fleshed out in the lives of office workers, lawyers, school teachers, and construction workers. In short, our greatest need is living, breathing models of what life looks like when we are living in the Reign.