January is the time of year many look forward, cast vision, and set goals. However, U.S. News & World Report claims that by February 80% of new year’s resolutions have failed. Why is that?
Among other reasons, follow through is nearly impossible without a plan. Even the best intentions can fall apart if resolve isn’t met with a plan of action.
If only 20% of resolutions make it past the month of February, how can disciplemakers be part of the minority who follow their intentions through to action?
One of the most important elements of fruitful, lasting disciplemaking is intentionality. Remember what Mark said in his Gospel, based on Peter’s observations:
And he went up on the mountain and called to him those whom he desired, and they came to him. And he appointed twelve (whom he also named apostles) so that they might be with him and he might send them out to preach and have authority to cast out demons (Mark 3:13-15, emphasis added).
Intentionality means developing a plan so that you might “be with” the person you intend to help grow spiritually. Being with the people we intend to influence and help spiritually is the baseline for making disciples. Unless you plan and schedule to spend time together, it will likely not happen. As simple as this sounds, most people’s desires to make disciples never finds fruition—because they don’t act on those desires. We can do better.
When Pam and I were in our 20s, we served with a youth ministry at our local church. Because disciplemaking was on my heart, I found three high school students who were friends and invited them to begin meeting with me in order to grow as followers of Christ. They accepted. They were all sophomores at the time. Each week, at 6:15 in the morning, I would drive south of Denver about 20 minutes and meet them at a Village Inn for breakfast and time in the Bible. I used simple spiritual growth Bible study materials with them. But it was not the materials that made the difference! It was planning and follow-through on the consistent time to be together.
Another aspect of intentionality is what you do each time you are with those you are helping spiritually. Simply, I make it a habit—whether it’s other believers or even those yet to trust Christ—to always share a verse and include prayer in our time together. There is something about the consistent sharing of Scripture and praying that builds and models two important disciplines of the Christian life!
For me, intentionality in disciplemaking means:
1) Planning and scheduling consistent time to meet with those we are discipling.
2) Always including prayer and the Scriptures in our time together.
By now you’ve figured out that growing as a person of the Scriptures and prayer yourself will help you to make it a part of every encounter with those you intend to disciple. Let’s go!
Are there people you can begin meeting with regularly for the benefit of them growing as followers of Christ?