Disciplemakers empower others to form deep relationships that center around Christ. But with that privilege comes great responsibility! They must have the “right stuff” if they’re going to make disciples who make disciples.
You must have seven essential qualities if you wish to make disciples who make disciples.
- A Heart for God
Having a heart for God means desiring to know Him in a deep, intimate way and to make Him known. Notice what Jesus said in Matthew’s Gospel: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and most important command’” (Matt. 22:37–38).
Disciplemakers ought to have a desire to love God with all their hearts, souls, and minds. Jesus said this is the “greatest and most important command.”Disciplemakers ought to have a desire to love God with all their hearts, souls, and minds. Click To Tweet
My friend Chris Adsit, before writing his book Personal Disciplemaking, surveyed more than five hundred disciplemakers from all over the world. In these interviews, he asked them what the most important qualities for making disciples were. More than one-third ranked having a heart for God as number one, and most ranked this quality in the top three. Sometimes, though, a heart for God gets developed in mysterious ways.
Jesse and his brothers were members of a garage band named Ola-Wyne in the early eighties. They had long hair and the rebellious attitude that went along with it. They were good kids but were far from God.
While serving as a pastor of a small church on the bayou in south Louisiana, I had the privilege of leading Jesse to faith in Christ and discipling him.
After Jesse came to the Lord and began a discipleship relationship, something shifted in him. Soon, whenever anyone looked at him, the first thing they noticed was his love for and devotion to God. On many occasions when I went to visit with his family, I found Jesse in the cane fields spending time alone with God, studying His Word, worshiping Him, and interceding in prayer for his family and friends. Jesse proclaimed his devotion even when it wasn’t popular, led many of his classmates to Christ, and stood for God no matter what the cost.
Jesse is now a pastor in south Louisiana and is investing in many others who need Christ. His love and devotion to the Lord Jesus and the gospel still characterize his ministry to this day.
Those used mightily by God to make disciples are those who have a heart for God and His Word.
- Love for Those You Disciple
You must cultivate not only a growing love relationship with Christ but also a love for those you disciple. Notice what Jesus said in Matthew 22:39: “The second [greatest command] is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.”
We are not only to have a love for God; we are to have a love for people. More than anything else, your disciples must know that you love them! As Peter said: “Above all, maintain an intense love for each other, since love covers a multitude of sins” (1 Pet. 4:8).
You must never look at your disciple as a “project.” He or she is someone you are called to love! Many have said throughout the years, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”
Talk can be cheap. Prove your love by spending time with your disciples. You show them you care about them by cultivating real relationships with them. You then earn the right to speak into their lives because they realize you care for them and their families.
One of the first guys I discipled in campus ministry was a young man named Shawn. Shawn was a student who began to hang out at our campus ministry building, the Nicholls Baptist Student Union. As I got to know Shawn better, it became obvious that he lacked a man’s influence in his life. His dad was absent from the home.
I began to invite Shawn to cookouts, outings, and events with our family. Before long, Shawn became one of the family. What was the difference that made the difference? The love of Christ! “I give you a new command,” Jesus said. “Love one another. Just as I have loved you, you must also love one another. By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:34–35).