When Jesus commanded his followers to "make disciples" he had multiplication in mind! He had this on his mind since the beginning of creation when God said, "Be fruitful and multiply". The Apostle Paul had multiplication on his mind when he told his disciple Timothy "What you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” (2 Timothy 2:2)
We multiply ourselves in others by finding faithful, available, and teachable men, women, and children to invest in spiritually. We show and share the truth of the gospel with them by sharing Scriptures, prayers, wisdom, meals, activities, and life, etc. Multiplication compounds exponentially when they too find another person to invest in spiritually. We do all this in hopes that the process continues on and on. This is how Jesus multiplied himself in others, so this is how we too should should multiply ourselves in others.
We use the word DISCIPLER as an acronym to help us think through Jesus' plan of discipleship. Robert Coleman wrote a great book called The Master Plan of Evangelism. In his book he lays out Jesus’ model of discipleship with his 12 disciples during his 3 year ministry. Jesus’ strategy for making disciples ought to be our strategy for making disciples. So, we have taken the chapters from Coleman's book and made an acronym, DISCIPLER, to help us remain faithful to the Great Commission.
D | Designate
Designate a faithful, available, and teachable person to disciple.
One of the first things Jesus did after he began his ministry was choose several young men to follow him. Follow me and I will make you fishers of men. (Matthew 4:19 ESV)
Who will you invite to follow you as you follow Christ?
- spouse or children
- somone younger in the faith at church
- a lost coworker or neighbor
- a friend who enjoys what you enjoy
- someone who is in need or asking questions
I | Integrate
Integrate your life with them.
Jesus then brought those 12 men to live "with" him for the next 3 years of his life. And he appointed the 12 (whom he also named apostles) so that they might be with him and he might send them out to preach (Mark 3:14 ESV)
Intentional, NOT additional. We simply need to be intentional with our time, rather than trying to add discipleship time into our schedule. Try inviting others to be "with" you during your normal routine.
How will you spend intentional time with others?
- daily routine (meals, driving, errands, etc.)
- projects (building, cooking, serving, etc.)
- fun (exercise, hobbies, travel, reading, etc.)
- work (carpool, break, lunch, trips, etc.)
- fellowship (birthdays, holidays, get-togethers, etc.)
- devotional (prayer, reading, study of Scripture, etc.)
S | Simulate
Simulate the life of Christ for them.
While doing life with them, Jesus modeled the kind of life they were to be living as an act of worship to the Lord. He prayed, fasted, served, taught, obeyed, rested, mourned, rejoiced, etc. And he went throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction among the people. (Matthew 4:23 ESV)
How will you imitate Christ for your disciples?
- praying, fasting, reading, and memorizing scripture
- repenting and confessing sin to one another
- evangelizing the lost and discipling the saved
- worshiping and serving with the church
- suffering well by persevering in the faith
- putting God's will before your own
C | Communicate
Communicate the truths of the gospel.
Jesus taught his disciples the truth of God's Word. He not only walked the walked, but he talked the talk. Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him. And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying: (Matthew 5:1-2 ESV)
What gospel truths will you teach them?
- share a scripture from what your read
- reteach and apply the sermon from Sunday
- read a book of the bible together to discuss
- read a book about the bible together
- discuss certain doctrines they haven't learned
- answer questions they may have
I | Illustrate
Illustrate the truths of the gospel.
Jesus not only taught them the truth, but showed them the truth. He never asked them to do anything he wasn't willing to do himself! And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” (Matthew 9:35–38 ESV)
How will you model these gospel truths for them?
- evangelize regularly
- give generously
- serve sacrificially
- pray tirelessly
- worship passionately
P | Participate
Let them participate in showing and sharing the gospel with others.
Then Jesus involved his disciples in the ministry! Jesus himself did not baptize, but only his disciples. (John 4:2 ESV) Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass, and taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven and said a blessing. Then he broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. (Matthew 14:19 ESV)
How will you serve Christ and involve them?
- serve alongside them at church
- serve in outreach events together
- go on mission trips together
- utilize their gifts and skills
- start small and raise the bar
L | Liberate
Liberate them to show and share the gospel themselves.
Then Jesus sent them out to proclaim the gospel and make disciples without him. And he called the twelve together and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal. (Luke 9:1–2 ESV) This was the goal of his original plan in Mark 3:14, to send them out!
Where will you send them to serve Christ without you?
- present the gospel by themselves
- teach a lesson on their own
- designate a disciple of their own
- step out of their comfort zone by faith
E | Evaluate
Evaluate their life and witness to help them better imitate Christ.
After the disciples returned, Jesus assessed their inward faithfulness, not their outward success. Remember, God gives the growth (1 Corinthians 3:7). Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” (Luke 10:20, ESV) We too need to celebrate the wins, share the losses, apply the gospel, make a plan to go out again!
How will you assess them with the gospel?
- commend their faithfulness
- highlight their giftedness
- thank the Lord for the fruit
- use the scripture to guide
- consider some weaknesses
- train them to be even more faithful to Christ
R | Replicate
Send them out to replicate themselves in others through multiplication.
In the end, Jesus multiplied himself in his disciples and commissioned them to make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:18-20). Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” (John 20:21 ESV)
Are they multiplying themselves as a disciple? Yes or No?
If so, praise the Lord and 'designate' another person to disciple! If not, go back and repeat some previous steps till they are able to multiply themselves as a disciple maker. Discipleship isn’t truly finished until our disciple is replicating themselves in others. Short of that, multiplication isn't happening, just addition.
Click here to download our DISCIPLER card.
Disciple the Lost
Discipleship begins with evangelism as we share the gospel with unbelievers and they put their faith in Jesus Christ. This is why it's important for us to be intentional to make disciples by sharing the gospel with those who have yet to believe in Christ. Oikos is a Greek word meaning “extended household” and describes the people in our sphere of influence whom God has placed in our lives to show and share the gospel (Acts 17:26). Every follower of Christ is called share the gospel with others. We're not responsible for sharing with everyone, but we must be willing to share with anyone! Click here if you want to know more about oikos.
Click here to listen to our DISCPLER sermon series.
Gospel Life & Lifestyle
We have two tools to help you grow you in your faith and imitate Christ. These tools are also used in our Membership Class as well.
- Gospel Life Stories – Learn to share God’s Story of the Gospel and Your Story of faith in the Gospel.
- Gospel Lifestyle – Think intentionally and practically about how you will commit yourself to God and his church by growing to become more like Christ and living on mission for his kingdom.
Bible & Books
As you make disciples, we must be intentional to focus ourselves and our disciples on God and the Gospel. This occurs best through Bible reading, memorization, discussion, and application. You may also choose to read books with your disciple that help clarify who God is and what he has done. If you need some suggestions, check out our Recommended Books List.
You may also want a tool to walk your disciple through lessons to help them grow in their faith and understanding of God's Word. Many of us use a tool called The Downline Builder which enables you to build customize material for your disciple focused on what they need at the time.