In the previous chapter, I suggested three reasons that contributed to my moving from a “want to be” disciple maker to someone who routinely engaged in disciple making. The first of those three reasons had to do with a change of mindset.
First, I had to believe that I could become a disciple maker regardless of my self-perception. If someone asked me to give adjectives to describe a “soul winner” or an “evangelist”, I would choose words like “bold”, “extroverted”, “confident”, “scholarly”, and perhaps even “obnoxious”. And these words, perhaps with the occasional exception of “obnoxious,” did not describe me. So my view of myself told me that I could never make disciples.
But then I encountered the text I mentioned at the end of the last chapter, “Follow Me and I will make you fishers of men” (Matthew 4:19). I had to admit that Jesus made this promise for all His followers, not just a select number.
I was then introduced to a helpful definition of being a fisher of men – “sharing Christ, in the power of the Holy Spirit, and leaving the results up to Him.” This sounded possible to me. And the absence of having to have “success” in my encounter, was extremely freeing. I also found great encouragement in Jesus’ promise, concluding His commission to make disciples, that “I am with you always” (Matthew 28:19-20).
As my mindset was gradually changing, I was encouraged to see disciple making as a life or death issue – thus not an option, but a necessity. When I say “life or death,” I’m talking about seeing people outside of faith in Jesus as facing eternal death – and not merely seeing people as such, but embracing the reality that those of us who have the answer to life, must get the good news of Jesus to as many of these people as possible.
Such a mindset causes unlikely disciple makers like myself to be willing to step out in faith. A spiritual mentor challenged me to “attempt something so great for God that it’s doomed to failure unless God be in it.” This also helped convince me to give making disciples another try.
And one thing is for sure, I was convinced my efforts would fail miserably. Why?
Because having a life or death mindset alone is not sufficient to get most of us to become disciple makers. “Disciple makers to be” must secondly be convinced that they have a simple and effective strategy to make disciples.