We read the headlines and experience the conflict. Around the world and even among our own families and friends there is a weight of desperation—people are lonely and without hope.
Matthew 9:36-38 reveals the deep compassion of Jesus as He observed the brokenness around Him:
When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” (ESV).
It was Jesus’ compassion for us humans that drove Him to speak of the need for laborers. Laborers, or “disciplemakers” bring the spirit of Jesus into our broken world as ambassadors of His Good News (I’ll use the word “disciplemaker,” a word derived from Matthew 28:19, that might be better understood these days, when we speak of this idea of laborers).
What do these disciplemaking laborers look like? The following characteristics are key in the journey of a disciplemaker:
1. Grow in relationship with God. Howard Hendricks once said, “You cannot impart what you do not possess!” Jesus makes it clear that only as we are connected to Him will we experience a healthy spiritual life: “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5 NIV).
2. Know and live from the Scriptures. The Scriptures are God’s means to bring guidance and wise counsel and transformation through the Spirit into to the lives of each believer. The Holy Spirit guides us into knowing and living the truth of the Scriptures. As the psalmist said, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Psalm 119:105 ESV).
3. Live among those who don’t know Christ. Every believer is called to engage with people in our broken world, where we live, work, study, and play. Each day opens opportunities for us to be salt and light and to bring hope among those yet to know Jesus. The gospel is the power for salvation (see Romans 1:17), and it is the force for redemption and the restoration of all creation (Romans 8:18ff).
4. Engage in community with other Christ-followers. The life of discipleship is not meant to be experienced alone. God has designed us for community. We grow spiritually and are used by God as we partner with others on the journey. The many “one anothers” of the New Testament reveal ways this community is to function. As the distressed and downcast taste our communities of grace they will be drawn to Jesus.
5. Reproduce spiritual generations. We show Christ-followers how to help others follow Christ. As we follow in the footsteps of Jesus, who invested in a small group of disciples, we aim to raise up others who will follow Christ, and who themselves will help others as well. Psalm 145:4 assures us that “one generation shall commend your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts” (ESV).
These are the characteristics and skills I seek to nurture in you and those you walk alongside; they serve as the framework for my blog. My goal in this blog is to be your coach, helping you to be a disciplemaker, in a compassionate response to the brokenness around us. This is what the world needs.
It’s a privilege to walk with each of you in this world-changing endeavor!
How have you seen God use you as His answer to the brokenness of your world?
Welcome to my new blog “home”! In response to your feedback and some technical needs, I have re-titled my blog to Your Disciplemaking Coach and have moved to dougnuenke.com. Don’t worry, I’ll still be writing practical posts on the topic of making waves of the gospel in our world through discipleship, I just redecorated and changed the name and address.
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