Disciple (d -s p l) n.
One who embraces and assists in spreading the teachings of another.
This is one of the definitions of the word disciple. We’ve all heard this word before, and it usually refers to one of the original twelve disciples of Jesus, or other followers of Jesus. To disciple someone is to make them a disciple of Jesus. What exactly is that?
In most places today, to become a disciple is to pray this prayer, and then you will be saved. Perhaps there is much more to be done (See “There Must Be More to Life than This” and the book “Radical” by David Platt). To disciple someone isn’t to get them to pray a prayer. It is to help them grow in their spiritual walk as well. As Americans today, we believe in mass-production, trying to save as many as we can as fast as we can do it, which is not a bad thing.
Our greatest example for how we should model our lives stands in one man: Jesus Christ. Notice that Jesus turned away the crowds, instead investing himself into 12 men, who 11 of which would become some of the greatest speakers of all time. Jesus turned away many, and accepted few. As David Platt put it, Jesus’ mega strategy was just to disciple, not mass produce. It’s not about getting someone to pray a prayer. While that should be done, it shouldn’t be the end. You need to invest yourselves in others, and try to teach them what you can. Let the Spirit guide you, and instead of mass-producing, invest yourself in a few. Do not do assembly-line production and then leave them on their own, invest in them. Imagine the differences between an assembly line and a hand-crafter. Sure, the assembly line gets more, but the hand-crafter gets better.
Instead of just praying with someone and leave them on their own, invest into them, teach and guide them. When a gardener plants a seed, does he leave the seed to fend for itself, or does he constantly water it and take care of it? If you have a pet, do you let it fend for itself or take care of its basic needs?
You take care of them. It’s the same in discipling. Help them grow in Christ and on their Spiritual walk. This doesn’t mean you are “better” than them in any way. As much as they learn from you, you can learn from them. This is the essence of community, helping each other in the Faith and to grow together in Christ Jesus.