Last month I attended two separate trainings for disciple-making led by two different organizations. There was helpful instruction and insight in both seminars but over the 6 days of training the word “love” was not used. (I tend to listen for what is not being said when I attend seminars or read books.)
When it comes to disciple-making Americans think in terms of equipping, teaching, curriculum, and training. The training is usually done in a classroom setting and feels very much like school or business training.
One organization in our training called the discipler a “mentor” the other called him a “facilitator”, which both reflect an institutional attitude not too different from a relationship with a manager or professor.
Making disciples of Jesus in a word is love. If we could go back in time and ask Peter, Bartholomew, or Matthew to describe their time with Jesus they would say something like this, “I have never experienced love, friendship, and belonging like I did those three years with Jesus.”
Equipping, training, instruction, and curriculum do not make disciples of Jesus. The discipler laying down his life for each individual is what makes disciples just as Jesus laid down his life for his disciples.