The BIG IDEA:
God has called all Christians to make disciples.
Many Christians are unaware that God calls all of us to make disciples. They have bought into the idea of passive christianity where all they have to do is sit in a service once a week and maybe read the Bible now and then. Jesus had a better plan for his followers.
Begin to make discipling others a high priority in our lives.
In a relay race, the handoff of the baton is crucial. If the first runner does not hand off the baton well, the race is lost. The same is true with discipleship. It is crucial that we hand off spiritual truth well, so that the younger Christians in our lives can grow strong and pass it off to someone else.
The SIGNIFICANCE OF THE TOPIC:
Discipleship is walking alongside someone; challenging them to live out the Bible in their life, while influencing others with the gospel. Discipleship is the heart of God. Jesus’ plan of growing and sustaining the church has always been through discipleship. As students recognize the importance of their role as disciplers, their faith will grow, they will produce more disciples, and their legacy will be amazing.
- What I want the group to know and understand: Jesus calls us to make disciples and that we can do it!
- What I want the group to experience: Confidence that we can disciple others, and excitement to start the process.
- How I want the group to respond: To start discipling someone in our life by week 3 of this study.
In a relay race, runners carry a baton as fast at they can to the next runner and hand off the baton. The second runner then carries the baton to the next runner and on and on until the final runner crosses the finish line with the baton.
Spiritually, we are runners in the race of life passing on spiritual truth from one person to the next, all the way from Jesus, on into the future. What is some spiritual truth that has been passed on to you?
Leader, for some people this will be hard to answer. You may need to prompt them by reminding them of some things they have learned in your previous small groups or from their church experience. What we want them to hear from this question is that they DO already have something to “pass on” to someone else.
1. Right before Jesus left, he gave us the instructions found in Matthew 28:18-20. He tells us to make “disciples.” What would you say the difference is between a Christian and a disciple?
This is a bit of a trick question. There really should be no difference between the two. All Christians are called to be disciples. Jesus never distinguishes between a group of “followers” who just show up and attend a service, and a group of “doers” who teach people about Jesus and really live for God. Check out gotquestions.org/Christian-disciple.html for an article about this that may help you in this discussion.
2. Below are five points that describe what a disciple is and what one does. Each point comes from a verse below. Read through the verses below and decide which of these statements goes with that verse. A Disciple…
- Takes initiative to build into others (Matthew 28:18-20)
- Tells others about Jesus (John 4:40-42)
- Prioritizes Jesus over other things (Matthew 4:18-22)
- Teaches others how to follow Jesus (Matthew 28:18-20)
- Relies on the Holy Spirit (2 Tim 1:14)
We have kept the verses on the leader’s guide in the correct order but scrambled them on the student’s copy. Please look up the verses with your students and help them wrestle with what the Bible says about these verses. This will be the main time to dig into the Bible in this lesson, so spend some time talking about what these verses say about being a disciple.
3. Pick two of the points in question 2 that you think are the most important. Tell the group why you think they are important.
Allow the group to discuss. There is no right answer to this question. Our hope is that one idea that would surface and stick is that a disciple builds into others. Help them wrestle with the idea that this is what God calls all Christians to.
4. How does this description of a disciple look different from your Christian experience so far?
Many of our students will consider “building into others” as the job of pastors, teachers, or other official leaders. A “regular Christian” might go to church or attend a small group but isn’t really involved in building into others. Help them realize that this is never what Jesus intended.
5. How does relying on the Holy Spirit affect all of the other points?
It is the Holy Spirit in us who gives us the desire to prioritize God in our lives, the grace to love those around us, and the power to talk with them about Jesus. All Christians can disciple others because all Christians have the Holy Spirit living in them.
6. One way to look at discipleship is like a family tree. You build into others who build into others and after a few generations, there are tons of people being built into. These two diagrams represent two ways people approach being a Christian. Describe them. What is the difference between the two?
The circle with the arrows pointing inward is like a Christian that sees Christianity as being about him. He might go to church, listen to sermons, or read Christian books, but he isn’t concerned about pouring out to others. The family tree diagram represents a Christian who is pouring out to a few others, which could result in thousands of disciples over a lifetime.
7. The diagram on the right is sometimes called multiplication. As you build into another person it’s like you are multiplying the life of Christ and making another discipler. What is good about that?
Allow the group to discuss. After others have answered, this could be a good place for you to share a little about why you want to disciple others and why you want to build into this group.
8. Legacy is a word that we use to describe the impact someone has made in the lives of others around him. Fast forward to your funeral. What do you want people to say about you? What kind of spiritual legacy do you want to leave?
Example: “He was a nice guy” or “He led me to Christ!” or “Wait, what? He was a Christian?” etc.
Have them brainstorm here. Keep them focused on their “spiritual legacy,” not just what career they will have or how much money they will make. Do they want to have a huge spiritual legacy? Have they ever thought about this question? If they want a big spiritual legacy, what will they need to do?
“Discipleship is walking alongside someone; challenging them to live out the Bible in their life, while influencing others with the gospel.”
9. One definition of discipleship is above. It often means meeting someone on a regular basis, reading the Bible together, answering their questions, and praying with them. Discipling someone can be difficult but it is worth it. What are some things that would make it difficult for you to disciple someone else? What is exciting about the idea of discipling someone?
It may be good here to make a list as a group of things that keep them from discipling someone else. Talk about what makes it hard, but then ask how they could overcome each of those barriers. As they bring up the fact that they don’t know how to disciple someone, be sure to tell them that the best way to learn to disciple someone is to just jump in and start doing it. You’ll learn as you go!
READ: Matt just graduated from college. Today he is stopping by his old high school to see his high school track coach, Coach Avalos. After they greet each other, the coach points out another student, Jimmy. “Matt”, coach says, “Do you remember that small group Bible study you led with the team your senior year? Well, one of the freshmen in that group, Dewayne, started it up the next year and he led Jose to Christ. Jose helped lead the study the following year and had all the guys over to his house one night where he shared the gospel and Mark came to Christ. Mark is a junior now and he’s been leading the group for two years. Jimmy is a freshman this year and came to check it out. Jimmy had a lot of questions about God, but just last week, he accepted Christ! Jimmy is like your spiritual great-great-grandson! All of these guys know Jesus because you decided to start that small group when you were a senior!”
10. How would you feel if you were Matt?
Allow the group to discuss.
11. As you think about the people and groups of people in your life, who is someone that you could begin building into so that you could leave a legacy like Matt did?
Allow the group to discuss. Help your students think and pray about people in their lives that they could begin discipling and groups that they are a part of where they may be able to do an outreach or Bible Study. In a few weeks we will be asking them to start meeting with this person, so this is a good time to begin thinking and praying about who that could be.
CHALLENGE: For this series we will be challenging all students to have a 4 week discipleship relationship with another person. Start thinking and praying now about who you could meet with this month.
What ideas do you have that could improve this study? Are there creative things you do to bring this topic home to your students? Please share with the community clicking the FEEDBACK button or leaving a comment below.