Today on the phone I was asked, “What are the tools that you use to make disciples of Jesus? Is there a model that you follow? How do you teach your disciples the Bible? Is there a course that you take your disciples through?”
Although there is a place for tools in disciple-making, what is paramount is that the disciple is loved well. I have seen cases where a good teacher has attempted to use teaching to make disciples but because he did not know how to build relationships the disciple-making process broke down and so the teacher became frustrated with himself or he thought his disciple “just didn’t get it” and moved on to someone else. (Not to mention the discouragement that the disciple must have felt in being disappointed in yet another relationship.)
A person can hide behind a curriculum or “what I know” rather than having the courage to step out to lay down his life for another. To love is to make yourself vulnerable to rejection and disappointment.
Teaching does plays a critical role in disciple-making but what differentiates the teaching in disciple-making from other forms of teaching is that it takes place in the context of a loving relationship as demonstrated by Jesus and Paul. It is the love of the discipler that activates the teaching in the heart of the disciple.