For years, I’ve taught about the importance of becoming disciples.  I’ve exhorted teens, adults and mentally challenged people to work to become disciples.  However, I was cut short yesterday, by a radio teacher who explained that Jesus told us to make disciples, not become disciples.  This involves a partnership with a teacher/mentor and a student/follower/disciple. 

Too often, I’ve complained about the lack of disciples in the church.  Where is the maturity?  Where is the growth?  Why can’t people read the Scriptures for themselves and grow in the Lord?  When will they learn how to pray?  Surely, the church is at fault in not pressing into the real things of God.

The secret to valuable Christian discipleship is in the making, not the becoming.  As I review people who have poured themselves into my life, three stand out.  My mother is one.  Another is a Sunday school teacher, Harriett Cunningham, who began teaching a small class of ten girls when we were 12.  As it happened, she became our teacher for the next five years.  Though it was never done in the our church, she advanced each year as we were promoted to a new class. 

She was always amazingly prepared.  There were grafts and charts, pictures and illustrations.  She taught from notes.  I learned the value of preparation.  More importantly, we were her disciples.  Each of her ten girls grew into godly women and I believe that each of us would point back to Harriett as the one person who had the most godly influence on our lives when were teenagers.

Later, I became friends with Wylene Hughes.  She was 13 years older than I was.  But she allowed me to hang around her and learn from her wisdom and joy.  Each day we talked on the phone, laughing, joking and sharing bits of godly information that the other had learned from our reading the scriptures that day.  Maybe it was a confession or a prayer but in every conversation, she generously poured herself into my life.

Tony Piantine of Camp Daniel Ministries, has deliberately opened his life to investing himself into the lives of several young men.  He and his family live close to them and minister daily to their physical and spiritual needs.  Joy Ministries in Canada is also deliberate in their discipleship efforts.  Targeting leaders and ministering to them in unique ways, they work hard to develop their leadership.

Making disciples is an awesome task that has been given to the church.  There is a new call in my heart regarding my value as a discipler of our members.  What are the most beneficial ways you have been discipled?  What are some of the ways you believe that you are effective in your discipleship efforts?