Jesus started a revolution 2000 years ago by taking twelve men and training them to take his place. I call it the mentoring revolution. Paul followed Jesus’ example when he discipled Timothy, Titus and Silas. The mentoring concept was sporadically picked up by faithful believers in Christ throughout the past 2000 years, but mostly mentoring has been left undone. Now is the time for each of us to pick up the responsibility of making disciples in order to continue the revolution started by Jesus Christ.
Jesus set the revolution model by spending most of His time with His disciples. They were young. In fact, Jesus chose John, believed to be only 17 years of age and the youngest of The Twelve to be his closest disciple. Although Peter, James and John were part of Jesus’ inner circle, He also spent lots of time with The Twelve. Jesus’ style of disciple-making has been all but lost in many parts of the body of Christ today. Yet through this simple concept, Jesus reproduced Himself in His followers to start a revolution. Call it what you want – mentoring, discipling, coaching or spiritual fathering or mothering – it is all basically the same thing – caring about the spiritual growth of another believer.
Paul really grasped this truth of disciple-making when he told Timothy, “You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others” (2 Tim. 2:1-2). Paul exhorted Timothy, who was his disciple, to find another disciple who would disciple another.
It is our turn to continue the revolution. Here is my question for you: Who is the “disciple” who you are mentoring after the pattern of Jesus and Paul the apostle?
I want to issue you a challenge that has the potential to revolutionize the world. This challenge is for every believer, not just pastors and missionaries. We are ALL called to make disciples according to Matthew 28:19-20. I challenge you to ask God for just one reproducing disciple (a person willing to mentor someone else down the road). Just one! Sure, if you want to disciple more, go for it as God gives you the grace. But start with one, and encourage your “disciple” to disciple someone else next year. It might be someone at work or school, a family member, an acquaintance from church, a friend or a person who is lonely. Pray and ask someone to meet with you every few weeks (maybe for coffee or tea) and talk about your walk with Jesus, and then pray for them daily! Mentoring is not hard. It does not require understanding rocket science! You can change the world, one person at a time!
Every year, the pattern repeats as you each find another person to disciple who is also a reproducing disciple. In ten years, by discipling only one person each year who is also discipling one person, you will have been responsible to disciple directly or indirectly more than 1,000 people! You will have joined Jesus’ mentoring revolution, which becomes exponential!
After 20 years, mentoring only one disciple each year, guess how many disciples you will be responsible for? More than one million! That’s right – more than one million. Do the math if you do not believe me. After 30 years, the number jumps to more than one billion! No wonder the enemy has been hiding this truth from God’s people and keeping us busy in activity—even religious activity. Now for the naysayers and doubters who are saying, “But we do not live in a perfect world. What if it breaks down?” My response is simple: I will take a half million disciples if it breaks down. I’d even rather have a few new believers than none at all.
I have been blessed to be making disciples for almost forty years. I have stumbled many times, but it has been worth it all. I have used many different books and resources written by various authors as a tool to help me mentor others. I have also had the privilege of authoring and co-authoring 32 books during the past twenty years. But hands down, the books that I have written that have helped the most people by far are the small 12-book Biblical Foundation Series books that are being used for personal mentoring and disciple-making. Literally hundreds of thousands of these books are being used as practical tools to help disciple the next generation. Believers study one chapter a week (or one booklet a week) and discuss these vital foundational truths with their “Timothy.” It doesn’t matter to me which tools or books you use – many good resources are available in the body of Christ. The most important thing is that we are making disciples according to the model and mandate of Jesus.
When you and I help others with the basics of Christianity, guess what? We also receive renewed faith from His Word to live victoriously above the struggles of daily life. No matter how talented or experienced we are, if we want to excel at anything, we must practice the fundamentals—the essentials. It’s true for playing the piano, it’s true for playing baseball or golf and it’s true for living the Christian life. Discipling a younger believer brings us back to the basics of Christianity again and again.
This is my one-person challenge for you as you approach this next season of your life: Ask God to help you find your “Timothy.” Take a step of faith and help them grow in Christ.
So then, who is your 2 Timothy 2:2 reproducing disciple going to be? Let’s continue the revolution!