Jesus commanded all Christians to "make disciples" of all nations. We gave some thought to that responsibility in the last post on sharing the gospel. In this post, we note that making disciples of Jesus isn't simply sharing the gospel and seeing them enter into the family of God. It also involves "teaching them to obey all that [Jesus] commanded."
This isn't something we do merely for new converts, though just as with a newborn the intensiveness of care will be greater for a new believer than a mature one. Instead, we do this for one another. Specifically, those who are older and more mature in their following Jesus are to disciple those younger and less mature in the faith. Titus 2 makes this clear. God expects older men and women to teach what fits with true and healthy Bible doctrine - that is what sort of living and believing and character fits with God's truth. They do this by being real-life examples of right doctrine lived out.
Almost all of us will be further along than others in learning the ways and truth of Jesus. And almost all of us will be less mature than others in the faith. So, we all have a calling to be a learner and be a trainer. This happens as we gather together and intentionally seek out those from whom we can learn. Perhaps it is making it a point to get to know an older godly man or woman and to chat with them regularly after church about what God is teaching you and what he is teaching them. Perhaps it is writing notes of encouragement to a younger guy (if you are a guy) or girl (if you are a woman). Perhaps it is a more formal meeting up with an older man (for men) or woman (for women) to study the Bible and pray and receive accountability and encouragement.
Regardless of what it form it takes, discipleship is part of the job description of members in a local church. It is not only the job of the pastors. Paul makes this clear in Titus 2 and in Colossians. In Colossians, he says it is his goal as a minister to see others mature in Christ:
Him we proclaim, warning everyone (Greek is noutheteo) and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. (Col 1:28).
Lest we think it is a job solely for pastors, later, in chapter three, he says:
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing (Greek is noutheteo) one another in all wisdom (Col 3:16a).
So this "teaching" and "admonishing" is for all of us to be a part of. It might look different for a college student or young mom, or retired man, etc. We all have different opportunities, giftings, etc. But one constant is that it is flowing from the "word of Christ" (Col 3:16). So it is not us trying to make others our disciples. We are following Jesus and seeking to help others follow Jesus. What this means is that I don't try to make someone look like all my idiosyncratic ways of applying Scripture. Instead, we might say, "Here is what God says in his Word, and here is how I work that out as a Christian. You might work out the details a bit differently, but let me help you work it into your life. Following Jesus means finding a way to apply this to your life."
If you are looking for a place to start, why not spend some time praying that Jesus would give you a sense of your need and a humility to seek to learn his ways from others in the church who are wielding and living the Word. And why not ask him to help you find ways to do the same for others who are less mature too. After that, you might want to spend some time thinking about discipleship (especially if this idea is new for you).
Two Resources to help you think about discipleship:Titus 2:1-8
But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine. 2 Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness. 3 Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, 4 and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, 5 to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled. 6 Likewise, urge the younger men to be self-controlled. 7 Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, 8 and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us.The short book entitled Discipling: How to Help Others Follow Jesus by Mark Dever (there is a copy in the church library).