It is important to understand that we can use various resources to help us become disciples and disciple others, but a program does not make you a disciple or one who disciples others.
When Jesus gave the Great Commission, He gave specific things that needed to happen if a person was to become a disciple: they must be baptized and they must learn all that God has commanded. Of course, learning all that God has commanded will be a life-long pursuit. They must also then seek to fulfill the great commission by evangelizing others who will become disciples and disciple others.
The blessed responsibility of discipleship is based on relationships. It is not simply accomplishing Bible studies with another person, it is becoming a significant part of their life. Consider the words of the apostle Paul as he described his ministry.
But we proved to be gentle among you, as a nursing mother tenderly cares for her own children. Having so fond an affection for you, we were well-pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God but also our own lives, because you had become very dear to us.
1 Thessalonians 2:7–8
When Jesus called His disciples, He used two specific words: Follow Me (Matthew 4:19). Not only did Jesus provide verbal teaching, He illustrated His teaching with His life. He set a pattern that His disciples could follow.
The apostle Paul also encouraged believers to follow the pattern of his life.
Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ.
1 Corinthians 11:1
Brethren, join in following my example, and observe those who walk according to the pattern you have in us.
Our culture seems inclined to have shallow relationships and be more disposed to efficient methods to accomplish tasks, even discipleship. In the coming weeks, we will take a much closer look at the life of our Lord, who set the perfect example for biblical discipleship.