Disciplemaking 101: Before You Begin


Guest Post by Ed Underwood

Part 1 of a 2 Part Series

I’ve learned a lot of lessons in forty years of discipline–Forty years of trying something that didn’t work, finding a solution, and having some success. It’s been the greatest adventure of my life, being privileged by the Lord Jesus to make disciples to Him. Before you get started, I want to tell you now what I wish I would have known before I began my journey as a disciple maker with a high school student so long ago when I was a Young Life leader.

1. You are right in the middle of God’s will. Discipleship is God’s will for every believer, it’s Christ’s Great Commission, our Mandate, our privilege … it is what the Lord Jesus wants us to be about. Making disciples of all the nations is what Jesus told us to do, and the only way that will happen is when individual believers just like you take it seriously and make the commitment to the disciple, or mentor one friend. It happens one life at a time.

2. Keep It Simple! Paul put it this way in his second letter to his friend and disciple, Timothy: “And entrust what you heard me say in the presence of many other witnesses to faithful people who will be competent to teach others as well” (2 Timothy 2:2, NET). The NKJV translates it this way: “And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also” (2 Timothy 2:2).

The strategy is simple. The things someone, say your Paul, told you—whoever your mentor is, you share those with faithful people who will be capable of passing it on to others. Disciplemaking is the addition that leads to multiplication. If I just share my life and the truths I know about Jesus with one eager disciple who will be able to share it with others, I’ve done my addition part so that God can multiply the impact of my little life.

3. View it as a labor of love. This has to be an expression of your love for Jesus Christ and your love for the one you’re discipling. If you think of this as a task, an assignment, something you need to do to bargain with God or any other perspective other than love, you’re not going to last.

Disciplemaking is hard. Think about it. We’re being used by God as he pulls life out of darkness into the Kingdom of the Son of His love, we’re cooperating with the Holy Spirit to transform self-absorbed and full of darkness people into the expression of their life God originally designed for humanity—to be other-centered worshipers of God … to be more and more like Jesus Christ.

4. Count the Cost! Taking you back to 2 Timothy 2, after stating the basic strategy in v. 2, Paul is quick to remind Timothy of what it will cost: “Take your care of suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 2:3).

Think of disciple making as the frontlines of spiritual warfare, the clash of two kingdoms for the souls of men and women, boys and girls. You can be sure that Jesus’ enemy, Satan, is set against you. Every distraction, discouragement, and disappointment will be hurled your way. The devil will use anything to stop you from launching a new believer into a life of eternal significance as a disciple of the Master.

Ed Underwood



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