Fail-Proof Disciple Making (conclusion)

Below is my adaptation of a posting by Seth Barnes that I found very interesting.   This week I am giving you some “bite-size” portions to chew on and digest.  As the week ends review the entire list.  Evaluate your disciple experience and see where you may need to make changes.  Evaluate how you are discipling others.  Any changes that need to take place?

Seth Barnes
Seth Barnes

From Previous posts:

1. Mistaken Identity / 2.  Journey /  3.  Listening Prayer /  4.  Deep Connection /        5.  Authentic Community / 6.  Intergenerational

Let’s wrap it up and prepare for the weekend.

7.  Risk Based:   We are not necessarily talking physical danger.  It may just be testing the boundary of a comfort zone.  For some the mere act of calling a neighbor and inviting them to church is a “risk”.  Even getting to know your neighbor and learning their name can seem like a challenge.

When I’m growing most, I’m allowing God to speak to me and challenge me. The Holy Spirit frequently asks me to do things that I wouldn’t do on my own.

Growing in God requires change, and change requires new behaviors, behaviors that feel risky.  —  Seth Barnes

Follow that urge to give it a shot.  Grab a partner and commit to “doing this”.

8.  Waking Up:  This is related to the risk taking mentioned above.  When we begin to allow the Holy Spirit to move and work within us we encounter a new reality of the spirit that is no longer compatible with the old reality of the flesh.  We have to trust God to move us into this new reality – but that can be a painful and frustrating struggle.

It may not be easy.  Old habits must die.  New habits must be developed and entrenched.  Two steps forward and one step back is way too often the norm.  As Seth notes in his original post:

Childbirth is wrenching, bloody and painful. So it is when we shift our perspective from life in the realm of flesh and blood to the reality of life in the spirit. Our habits and thoughts must change through pain, and the change itself is painful.


9.  Kingdom Dreaming:  As a disciple matures there should be a point at which they suddenly realize this is bigger than just “Jesus and Me”.  There is a world lost in sin.  There are God called missions to impact that world.  There are widows and orphans to be loved.  Justice to be served.  Walking humbly with my God is more than just personal – it is having the heart of God for entirety of the human race.

10.  Three Year process: Here is how Mr. Barnes puts it …….

I calculate that Jesus invested approximately 15,000 hours in his disciples (5,000 hours/year of constant modeling, teaching and debriefing).  Then their spirits were seared by watching him die, and then they spent days waiting for the empowerment of the Holy Spirit. Who are we to do any less?

Most of my adult life, I’ve sought to find a way around the long road of commitment that Jesus’ pattern of relationship requires.

Jesus took three years to disciple his disciples, and they still looked like a mess in the end. Three years of intensive, personal, challenging life together was just barely enough to get them to a place where they were succeeding as much as they were failing.

Jesus’ best disciple, Peter, the rock upon which Jesus said he’d build his church, was like a spiritual toddler falling down as he learned to walk.  There he is walking on water one minute and chopping off a soldier’s ear or denying Jesus multiple times the next minute.


It isn’t easy.  It isn’t instant.  But it is so rewarding.  Becoming a mature disciple, and helping new disciples learn as we live life together.

It is a wonderful, scary, marvelous rewarding journey — will you join me?

Leave a Reply