Making Disciples - Part 1

What is a Disciple Maker and Can Anyone Be One? – Part 1


Randy Pope

President of Life on Life Ministries



Assuming you’ve had the opportunity to watch the intro to life-on-life discipleship, you know that we talk about discipleship as any means of taking someone from being a non-follower to a follower, and then to a mature follower. And, using the terminology that way, I like to make the distinction between the terms making and training disciples.

It’s not uncommon for me to go to a conference on discipleship and never hear one thing mentioned about the idea that taking non-followers to become followers is a very important part of discipleship. And so, hopefully, by making this distinction, we’ll get equal attention to both the making and training of disciples.

You know, in that same introduction, I use the idea that a disciple is a follower. I described that if we are taking someone who is a non-follower and helping them become a true follower, I like to think of that as making disciples. I’m going to use that as a term right now. I know that many of you use it differently. That’s fine. But, I say that just so you’ll understand how I’m using this term.

It was years ago that I began to realize that people are different in terms of seeing them come to faith. Some people it’s so quick—you just happened to mention the gospel story and they understand it. They say, “I’m interested. I want it.” They embrace it, and their life changes. You know, that’s not always the case though. I realized those are people, that I’ll call, prepared people. And years ago, there were a lot more prepared people than we would find today. So, it may take a lengthy period of time now for most people. That’s at least my experience. So what we have to do now is help these people that are not prepared—they need time to investigate.

I realize that some of you are now saying I could never, ever, ever do that—meaning make disciples. I’ll tell you, that’s what I said. I was so resistant. I said, “There’s no way as an introvert. There’s no way that I could ever, ever do that.” Well, I’ll say this. I did try. And my first attempt was so humiliating, I literally said these words to God at the very end of my effort. I said, “God, I will never ever do that again.”

Well, for many years now, I’ve had the privilege of leading people each year to faith in Christ. So you gotta I ask the question, “Well, what accounts for that?” There were three things that come to my mind that I think made the biggest difference.

The first was a change of mindset. First, I had to start thinking the truth that God says, “Hey, I’ve called all of you to make disciples. I’ve called you, so you can do it.” I thought, okay, that’s the first. I’ve got to embrace that. After that I realized, wait, there’s so much at stake. Talk about a mindset, I started thinking that, you know, people are perishing without the truth, and I’ve got the truth. And so, the mindset had to change, but you know, my mindset changing did not make me a disciple maker. It took more than that.

The second thing I realized was that I needed an effective, very simple strategy. The strategy that I had when I started was not a very effective strategy. And so, in the next video, we’ll talk about what is a simple and effective strategy.

And then in the next two videos that follow I’m going to deal with a third, I think, major difference-maker that was this: I had to have a set of culturally relevant and biblically sound tools.

What a difference maker, those three. I hope that in the next videos this is going to come together for you well, but remember this, you can be an effective disciple maker. You can.


If you would rather read this series, you can download the Making and Training disciples booklets here.