8 ways to make a disciple.

A disciple is a person who chooses to allow the life and teaching of someone to shape his/her own life. There can be an invitation from the teacher or a request from the disciple. (Apprentice is one of our best other words for this, a person working with a master.)

coffee cupMaybe you want to help other people take your business and replicate it. Maybe you want to help other people understand how to be an entrepreneur like you, like you learned from someone else. Maybe you want to help people understand more about following Jesus.

You can’t do this with everyone in your life. It takes too much time to explain how all the time (See How: the missing piece in training.) However, there are a handful of people that you want to do everything possible to help grow.

Here are 8 simple ways to make a disciple.

1. Invite people who you see have potential, whether they see it or not.

2. Spend lots of time together in a very small group out of the spotlight.

3. Let them see the cracks in your life.

4. Let them know the pain and struggles that comes from being like you.

5. Show them the infrastructure behind the scenes.

6. Trust them with your identity.

7. Trust them with their project.

8. Bless them.

(Actually, there is only one way. Show them your life.)

Related posts on making disciples:

How to be like me. or you.

Discipleship is cafe-shaped conversations

Whose opinions should matter to you

Fans and disciples

My ebook on Making disciples

8 ways Jesus helped people learn


18 responses to “8 ways to make a disciple.

  1. Excellent! You have such a beautiful way of breaking down into meaningful units the “how” and the “why” of making a disciple… And the cost and struggle to do it.

  2. Great post! Simple, to the point and absolutely true. Show them your life is the great take away.


  3. Love this!
    Thank you!


  4. Because none of us are Jesus,
    and ultimately, deep inside,
    people want disciples to replicate themselves for their own goals,
    I would change the title from “make” to “earn”,
    and change #8 to #1.

  5. Thanks for pointing back to the simplicity of making a disciple. It’s hard work sometimes, but we try to make it too complex. Glad I found your blog. Gonna add it to my reading list.

  6. Bill – Thanks! I agree that’s the core.

  7. Heath – it’s simple. It’s huge. that’s the challenge. and welcome!

  8. Ed – I agree with the cautionary part. What are we making disciples of/to? One of the things that I was thinking this morning is that often, those who have made disciples have been passing on what they themselves had learned. There is a wonderful rabbinic ordination image in a Chaim Potok book where the certificate is signed not only with the name of the teacher but also of the teacher’s teacher. There is a chain.

  9. Joe – sorry for the late resply. Thanks for seeing the cost and struggle point. We are so used to getting only the happy part that we miss the “doesn’t happen overnight” part.

  10. Great list. Numbers 3 and 6 speak to transparency and vulnerability, and are good reminders that discipleship isn’t the same as mentor/mentee.

  11. Love it! I love that boil it all down to ‘show them your life’. I think agree that it is truly the ONLY way!!

    Inspiring and true!

  12. Super-interesting points, especially point number 4 is worth pondering:

    Let them know the pain and struggles that comes from being like you.

    It can be hard for a leader to publicly show his weaknesses, but that may just be the right thing to do. It takes a lot of strength and true confidence !

  13. To expand on what Mars said – I think it is part of what it takes to be leader. It’s confidence through the cracks. Let them see what makes you tick, what’s hard, what’s easy – and let them see how you deal through it all. That’s what inspires.

  14. Cheryl – thanks. You are right. It isn’t mentoring or coaching or accountability, though there may be overlap.

  15. Shawn and Mars – You are pointing to what I see as one of the most critical pieces. Part of the challenge of living out beliefs is showing how they work, where they carry us, where they may give us strength when we are weak. And, if there are cracks and we don’t acknowledge them, that doesn’t mean they don’t exist, it means that we are not being honest.

    On Thu, May 27, 2010 at 8:31 PM, Jon Swanson wrote:

    > Thanks, David! > >

  16. I would say you don’t have to show people your life to make them your disciple. Most everyone’s life is too pedestrain once you look at it up close. In actuality, to get a disciple …

    You have to show them your lifeforce.