The most common question I am asked about making disciples is “what curriculum do you use?”
Rather than following a curriculum, I team with the disciple to unearth the ways of God throughout his/her life. Each believer’s relationship with their Heavenly Father is unique, unlike any other child’s-past, present or future. The Lord personalizes the relationship by placing a distinguishing spiritual birthmark on each child through suffering.
Smasher was my brother’s English bulldog. Bulldogs do or don’t do whatever they like. Smasher did not like swallowing pills. It was an exercise in futility to try and get pills into his locked jaws. In making disciples I have wasted time and energy trying to convince people to swallow spiritual truths prematurely. Suffering is the instrument of God to open up a disciple’s heart to learn the ways, truth and nature of God.
Sufferings in the life of my disciple are the signposts of where and how the Holy Spirit is making that disciple into a follower of Jesus. My responsibility is to guide my disciple to view all the circumstances of his/her past through the lens of the sovereignty of God and His purposes.
The suffering in one’s life is the evidence of God’s work from childhood through adulthood. As I get to know my disciple I am looking for the points of suffering throughout their entire life. These then serve as markers which when connected provides a picture (or life-map) of God’s eternal purpose for that disciple’s life.