What Is A Discipler?
Discipleship involves people. For discipleship to take place there must be someone who is willing to mentor, that is, disciple (used as a verb) another person who would be willing to follow and learn from the mentor. In other words, discipleship involves at least two people. Another word for mentor that is used commonly is the word “discipler.” The secular world often uses the word “trainer” to refer to the person doing the mentoring. “Discipler,” the one doing the discipling, is a much better word for use in the church since we are not only to disciple people in ministry, but we are also to disciple them in their spiritual lives and character. Mentors and trainers basically work vocationally while disciplers basically work spiritually and ministerially. To be a discipler, one must be under the authority of a local church, since the church has been given the command to make disciples. Christ trained twelve leaders for His church and left them the Great Commission and the promise of His presence and authority. In three years, Jesus trained the twelve to have a heart for God, a heart for people, the heart of a servant, and the heart of a parent. He trained them to love God, fellowship with God, learn from God, and to have godly character. This would be needed in order to multiply. He trained them to spend quality and quantity time with the Father, and taught them to be committed to rightly dividing the Word. His own life became their model for holiness, humility, faithfulness, love, and compassion.
This is a discipler! If they did not learn these things from Jesus Christ, then they would not be able to go forth with character, preach the Gospel with power, or make disciples effectively. Christ showed them how to love people, which included children, widows, the handicapped, the sick, the diseased, the outcasts, the despised, Gentiles, Samaritans, and even His own Jewish enemies. His very life was one of discipleship, training them in the areas of sacrifice, self-denial, and the carrying of a cross, literally. He was involved in the lives of individuals, and He mixed with the masses. He cared for their physical needs, financial needs, social needs, emotional needs, and spiritual needs. He trained them even as He modeled His life for them.
This is a discipler! As a parent. He was committed to them. He spent the majority of his three years of public ministry with these twelve men. He was gentle with them, instructing them, correcting them, reprimanding them, and also rejoicing with them. He was transparent with them. He loved them, fed them, protected them, guided them, and taught them to reproduce. This is a discipler! Deliberate discipleship requires much time, energy, commitment, character, and love. Jesus deliberately modeled all of that for His disciples and for us. He transplanted His heart into the breast of the disciples. Go thou, and do likewise! A discipler is one who transplants his heart into the breast of his disciple.
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