Taylor Gardner is the man who discipled me. His life is an illustration of a servant’s heart. One evening I received news that my dad had been severely hurt in a motorcycle accident hundreds of miles away. Though late at night, Taylor drove across the city to be with me and to make sure I was alright. I will never forget that act of kindness as long as I live. Taylor went on to serve me by opening up for me ministry opportunities, even when he knew he could have done a better job on his own.
As a discipler, serving your disciple is a necessary element in the relationship in order to cultivate within him a heart to follow Jesus. Unlike the world, the discipler is to serve his disciples rather than being the one served, as exemplified by Jesus himself. He not only taught about a servant’s heart, he demonstrated servanthood by serving his disciples in daily living, such as preparing breakfast and washing their feet, and in the ultimate act of service in laying down his life for them.
Disciple making requires more than a weekly Bible study with a disciple at Starbucks; it is living life together. As a discipler I must be acquainted well enough with the life of my disciple in order to see the opportunities to serve him and his family. I must also have the time available to serve my disciple when the opportunity does arise. This is why a discipler can only disciple a limited number of people. What good is it that I am aware of a need of my disciple, but I am not able to meet that need because I am too busy?
Here are a couple of lessons I have learned along the way about serving:
- The opportunities to serve your disciple will come at inopportune times. It is the sacrifice you make to meet that need of your disciple that empowers the act of service with love.
- Look for ways to serve your disciple in simple ways (like a ride to the airport), as well as a major event (such as a move).
- It is the responsibility of the discipler to cultivate such a degree of comfort in the relationship that the disciple is able to share a need with the discipler.
- An act of service says, “I love you.”