Did Christ instruct His Church to “make leaders” or to “make disciples”?
[Darris McNeely] Have you ever read a book about leadership? Do you know how many books there are on leadership? Here’s one: Leadership Is An Art , a pretty good book. I’ve read it, and it has a lot of good material. Here’s one: Churchill on Leadership , the great 20th Century British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill. Here’s another one: Jesus on Leadership , discovering the secrets of servant leadership from the life of Jesus Christ. There’s another one here on servant leadership. I find this one about Jesus on Leadership , at least the title, to be interesting. All of these books contain some very good information and points about the subject of leadership, but I’ve been thinking lately that when it comes to the matter of leadership and what the Bible says about it I find the word disciple more than I find the word leadership.
In fact, in the New Testament I don’t find Jesus talking about leadership. I find Jesus Christ talking about becoming a disciple and that started me to thinking it might be better to focus upon the meaning of being a disciple as opposed to in a sense being a leader. Leadership is another important art form, but perhaps becoming a disciple is a place for us to begin. In Matthew chapter 28 beginning in verse 18 Jesus left this instruction with His followers. He said to them, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples” (Matthew 28:18-19 Matthew 28:18-19 18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, All power is given to me in heaven and in earth.
19 Go you therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
American King James Version×).
This is in Matthew 28:19 Matthew 28:19Go you therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
American King James Version×. “Go and make disciples of all the nations baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit teaching them to observe all things I’ve commanded you. For lo, I am with you always even to the end of the age.” Go and make disciples. Teach them to observe all things I have commanded you. This is among the final words of instructions Jesus gave to His followers, His church. People, men in this case and women who were disciples and had been a part of the initial founding of the church.
You look at the word disciple and you find it in the Bible, both from a Hebrew and a Greek perspective, the word disciple really means a student or one who’s a learner. That’s really essentially what it means. To become a disciple is really to put ourselves under the tutelage, under the mentorship, the watchful eye and care of a teacher who is in a sense a master at their particular subject or art or science or discipline. And we discipline ourselves to be a disciple, a learner, a student of all that that individual knows and has to teach us about that particular subject. That’s essentially what a disciple is. There are entire apprentice programs in various fields for people to learn to become an electrician, a plumber, a carpenter. And they become a disciple of a master at that particular craft or trade.
Christ called twelve individuals who were called to a lifelong job of becoming a disciple. These twelve men became apostles, and they in turn taught other disciples as they followed this teaching from Jesus Christ to go out and to make disciples and spread the word of God.
When you look at what they did, at how they approached that, and how Jesus really worked with them during His time and His ministry, there are a number of lessons for us to learn about becoming a disciple. To teach someone else to be a disciple we must first be a disciple ourselves. And I think that’s a critically important need in any organization, in any structure - be it a church, a business, any type of an organized entity in today’s world - I think to become a disciple has great teaching and meaning for all of us to apply in our lives. And so I’m going to begin a series of dailies here to take us through some of the steps from the Bible about being a disciple and in the end help us all to learn how to be a disciple.
That’s BT Daily . Join us next time.