Hometown Disciple Making #2

One question I am asked frequently is “how do you know who to disciple?”  One criterion I use is that the disciple lives in close proximity.   Jesus selected Capernaum to be his hometown and base for his ministry.  He chose men to disciple who lived and worked in the same region.  As Michael Wilkins has pointed out: “Most of the twelve disciples were from Capernaum and Bethsaida…” [1]

Being near to your disciples is important in order for you to know your disciples, for your disciples to know you, and for the disciples to know one another.  (This is not to say that longer distances between you and your disciple cannot work, but generally living close provides a better environment to make disciples.)

Here are some reasons why it is better if your disciples live near you:

  • For the Discipler:
    • The discipler needs to have access to his disciples during times of their personal suffering.  Trials are important times because they are the work of God in the life of your disciple.
    • Living in close proximity allows the discipler to serve the physical needs of his disciple.
    • When he (Jesus) had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. . . “I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you” (John 13:12-17).
    • “The pivotal pronouncement of servanthood in Mark 10:45 declares the essence of Jesus’ ministry.  By comprehending this, the disciples will comprehend the essence of discipleship as servanthood, including their motivation, position, ambition, expectations and example.  The disciple who is privileged to be a member of Jesus’ kingdom is a servant…” [2]
    • Life together allows the discipler to witness how his disciple responds to the circumstances of life and how he relates to people.
  • For the Disciple:
    • The disciple has the opportunity to imitate his discipler by observing the way he lives out following Jesus. (e.g. How he treats his wife, relates to his children, relates to others, and responds to suffering.) Paul became a model for others by first living among them.  “You know how we lived among you for your sake.  You became imitators of us and of the Lord” (1 Thess 1:5-6).
    • “Even though it is probable that Jesus’ disciples memorized much of his teaching and passed it on as the tradition of the church, the disciples were committed more to his person than to his teaching.  Following Jesus means togetherness with him and service to him while traveling on the Way” [3].
    • The disciple has the chance to interact with your other disciples.

[1] M.J. Wilkins, Disciples. Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels, (Downers Grove: Inter Varsity Press, 1992) p. 177.
[2] Ibid p. 184.
[3] Ibid p. 187.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *