Recently a missionary asked me how to make a disciple of Jesus. He said, “I am trained in evangelism and church-planting but I do not know how to make a disciple.”
First, we must know what a disciple of Jesus is. A disciple of Jesus is someone that has decided to live his life like Jesus did.
Second, Jesus demonstrated for us how to make disciples as recorded in the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Following Jesus is an imitative process. Jesus lived among the twelve disciples for them to see how he lived so that they could emulate him.
Twenty years later the apostle Paul used this same pattern in making disciples of Jesus. Paul and his team would live among the people so that they could imitate him and his team. He writes:
“You know how we lived among you for your sake. You became imitators of us and of the Lord . . . And so you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia.” 1 Thessalonians 1:5&6
“Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.” 1 Corinthians 11:1
“Therefore I urge you to imitate me. For this reason I am sending to you Timothy, my son whom I love, who is faithful in the Lord. He will remind you of my way of life in Christ Jesus, which agrees with what I teach everywhere in every church.” 1 Corinthians 4:16-17
“Join with others in following my example, brothers, and take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you.” Philippians 3:17-18
Jesus is our model. Each disciple-maker configures his life after Jesus to demonstrate for his disciple how a disciple of Jesus should live. Paul imitated Jesus and was a role model for Timothy to follow and then Timothy in turn became an example for others to follow.