Hand Made Disciples

Hand Made Disciples

What does it mean to be a disciple maker? What images come to your mind with that phrase? Maybe you think of a pastor, minister, or mentor. Maybe you have an image of Jesus, Paul, Peter, or someone else walking with a group of people behind them. Maybe you think of being a bible study leader. Hand made disciples are all around us…

None of those pictures are necessarily wrong, but I think disciple making has less to do with leadership and more to do with intentionality and love. Leadership is an aspect because in disciple making you are leading someone, but we are getting ahead of ourselves here. In my view, you could say that to be a disciplemaker is to be someone who “makes disciples.”

Cool. Deep thoughts with Connor.

But really, if you take a second and think about it, that simple description is freeing. You might not be a teacher or someone who wants to lead a bible study. Great! You don’t have to – but you can still make disciples. Why? Because to be a disciple maker is to be a Christian who intentionally invests in someone else to help them become more like Christ. Don’t take my word for it, look at how Jesus describes his “discipleship strategy” in Matthew 28:19-20,

Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,  teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.

Though Jesus tells us to “teach” I don’t think he is limiting us to teaching Sunday schools or Bible studies or Preaching (though all of those are great). One of the most impactful teachers in my life is my mentor of 12 years, Dave. He’s an engineer. Disciplemaking is not his “job” but he has walked with me through life as a mentor, invested in me, and discipled me. He believed in hand made disciples.

In a previous post, I talked about our Triads at the College Ministry. It is a great way to make disciples, but it isn’t the only way to make disciples.

At FBCA College Ministry, we have an initiative called the “Disciplemakers Team.” In essence, this is a group of college students who have gone through some basic training in evangelism, spiritual formation, and discipleship. After training, they prayerfully consider how God is calling them to make disciples. Here are some of the ways that students are right now making disciples at FBCA College:

  • Starting/leading Triads of other college students
  • Intentionally bringing up Jesus at the preschool ministry with kids
  • Discipling new believers at the BSM
  • Starting a prayer ministry
  • Starting a prayer meeting for the theater department at UTA
  • Investing in others in the Orchestra
  • Greek Life Ministry

Once deciding on a way that they’re going to make disciples, they let me and the college lead team know. We then check in on each of them once a week to see how things are going, encourage them, and offer support.

As you can see, disciple making looks like a lot of different things! What unites all of these various approaches is the commitment of the disciplemaker to intentionally invest in someone else.

We had our first disciplemaker lunch this past Sunday where students got to share testimonies of how God was moving in these efforts. There was also a time to encourage one another. It was really amazing and inspiring to hear their stories.

In closing, the above highlights something I believe is vital to ongoing, growing disciplemaking: accountability and celebration. Not that we are grading people or discipling for applause, but as a wise person once said, “You replicate what you celebrate.” As a college ministry, it is not our goal to get everyone to do things “our way” but rather to equip and encourage students in the ways that God calls them.

If you’re a college student and are looking for a community that will encourage, empower, and equip you for your unique calling – we want to connect with you. Any Christian can be a disciplemaker, but there is something powerful about making disciples in community with other disciplemakers. We like hand made disciples.

P.S. Help us help you by jumping into our next disciplemaker training! See you there.

Connor Torrealba

Connor Torrealba

Connor is the College Minister at First Baptist Arlington. He is passionate about discipling the next generation to live out their faith or come to faith for the first time. Connor enjoys traveling with his wife Patience, biking, and hiking.

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