Discipleship is nothing less than multiplication through replication. As followers of Jesus we are meant to reproduce our lives in the lives of others. This is God’s will for our lives as bonafide disciples of Jesus. Just as an orange tree naturally produces oranges, we are to naturally (really supernaturally through the Holy Spirit) produce disciples of Christ. Here are 4 truths about discipleship replication.
1) Disciples beget disciples.
In the natural realm, reproduction follows naturally after like kinds. This means that as it is natural for an orange tree to produce oranges, it is only an orange tree that can produce seeds for an orange tree. In the same manner, just as a disciple will produce fruit in keeping with Christ ( love, joy, peace, gentleness etc.) only a disciple can produce another disciple. Disciples beget disciples. Are you producing disciples through your life?
2) Discipleship is a (Super)natural product of a disciple of Jesus.
Of course disciples can attend classes and churches can employ programs but this is not what Jesus is talking about. Jesus did not sign His “followers” up for a class nor did He use some detailed program to test their aptitude or competency. Instead, Christ commanded that they “follow Him”. He was going to be the example before them. He was going to not only show them the ropes, He was going to do it with them. We are to “bear” fruit and disciples as a mother bears a child in birth. The process of giving birth is a natural as well as a supernatural miracle of life. This is not lost in a spiritual sense whatsoever. The metaphor of a physical birth directs us to the importance and necessity of the spiritual one. As true disciples of Christ, we will be giving birth to others who will grow up, imitate and emulate our very walk with Christ. Are you producing disciples?
3) Disciples become like their teachers.
Jesus was clear on this point in John 13:12-17 that His disciples should do unto others as He had done unto them. Jesus told them to imitate Him. Even if He had not told them, the natural progression is that children become like their parents and so will our disciples! Workers become like their bosses, followers become like the leaders and mentees become like their mentors. As we disciple others, it’s very revealing to look in the mirror of another life and see who you really are. We will only produce who and what we are and if you want to clearly see that, just look at the lives of the people closest to you…do they look like Jesus because of you?
4) Discipleship through replication takes time.
No birth, growth or fruit can be rushed. As tempting as it is to try and rush the life cycle, it only happens one day at a time. Discipleship requires a lifelong commitment to others as we partner with God in seeing people become more like Jesus. Through the deliberate scheduling of time together for prayer and Bible study, the processing of life events and seeking God’s eternal kingdom here and now, we can see disciples of Christ formed in our churches once again. Jesus invested 3 years in discipling His followers. What would your church, your life, your organization look like if you made a 3 year commitment to disciple them?