How to Make Disciples

Doing the One Thing Jesus Commissioned Us to Do

“Then Jesus came to them and said, 'All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.'” 

Matthew 28:18–20

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Here at Roots Church, we believe every Christian is responsible to obey Jesus in making disciples.

In that mission, we have responsibilities as individuals and as one big family. Learn to participate in what God is doing to make disciples with us!

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First Steps in Making a Disciple

If you're helping mentor a new Christian in their faith, there are a few great ways to get started.

  1. Meet with the person to build a relationship. Have meaningful conversations about their life. Get to know them.

  2. Give them a copy of Rooted. Print copies are available, or point them to the free PDF version here on our web site.

  3. Help them get a Bible. Sometimes it's good to have the person buy it themself so they'll take it more seriously, and sometimes it's better to gift it to them. Follow the Holy Spirit. In most cases, recommend they start reading in the book of Mark.

  4. Discuss the Christianity 101 material on our web site. Either watch the videos before you meet or watch them together. Walk through the questions and Scriptures together.

  5. Invite the person to your house church. Part of being discipled by Jesus is experiencing other people who express different aspects of who Jesus is. The house church is the perfect environment for such interactions.

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DISCIPLESHIP INSIGHTS

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Roots Church is committed to making disciples who make disciples. This responsibility is both individual and corporate. In other words, individual Christians are expected to engage in the work of making disciples for Jesus, but no one person can reveal Jesus as fully as the church together can. “We” are the body of Christ, and each of us has a different aspect of Him to reveal.

 

The process of making disciples begins with personal relationship and culminates in corporate relationship. It starts with an individual making a friend and leads to the person confessing faith and being fully integrated in meaningful church life.

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Relationships with Purpose

Participants in the Roots Church Network are encouraged to deliberately build relationships with lost people for the sake of winning them to faith in Jesus. This is not about mere “conversion,” although we do celebrate the opportunity to pray with someone to begin a relationship with the Lord. Rather, it’s about helping establish the person in a thriving, long-term relationship with Jesus and His people.

Authenticity

Purposeful relationship is authentic. People know from the beginning who you are and Who you represent. Not much time passes before it becomes apparent that you desire for that person to experience the same hope you have received. Purposeful relationships lead people to a crisis of decision in which they either want to take the next step in following Jesus or else they no longer want to be around you.

 

Purposeful relationships are not passive. Any relationship you have in which you merely “live a good life and hope someone notices and asks about it” is passive, not purposeful.

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Adjusting the Rhythms of Life

Proximity is the most important ingredient in evangelism. Ask yourself, “Am I in proximity to those I hope to reach with the gospel?” Many of us need to make a drastic change to the rhythms of our lives in order to put ourselves in proximity with those who need Jesus.

 

Huge efforts to change your lifestyle are rarely sustainable. Drastic change requires small, intentional changes that are made consistently over time. Those changes could look simply like finding excuses to talk to your neighbors. Bring them cookies, just knock on the door and introduce yourself, invite them to join you for dinner, etc. Don’t wait for a neon sign from heaven or for your house church to get everything in order before you start living missionally in your daily life. If you do it, others in your church will too.

 

Deliberate relationships make disciples. And only deliberate people develop deliberate relationships. Be purposeful. Lovingly and prayerfully target people with help from the Holy Spirit, and shine the light of Jesus and His gospel into their lives in meaningful ways.

Drawing a Clear Line so People Can Follow Jesus

Some Christians think of disciple-making as a slow warming-up to Jesus—bringing people into deeper and deeper experience with Christianity and church life until they start to see themselves as believers. While this sounds noble, it is at odds with Jesus’ ministry and the example in the book of Acts.

 

We do not make disciples through “bait and switch”—offering easy entry and then slowly inviting people to greater levels of commitment. We make disciples by offering an all-or-nothing commitment to the lordship of Jesus Christ. Scripture discusses this as “new birth,” or “new creations,” or “death and resurrection.” In short, it is a binary option whereby someone either chooses to follow Jesus or not.

 

People in the community of faith are those who claim to follow Jesus and are therefore accountable for their confession. Whatever we do in a disciple-making relationship needs to come with a clearly articulated gospel message—one in which the person understands the cost of following Jesus and is able to make a clear decision between either following Jesus or remaining dead in their sins.

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DISCIPLESHIP PATHWAY

What does intentional relationship look like? In what stage are your current relationships?

 

Contact
  • You’ve met the person and had a conversation.

  • You know each other’s names

 

Friend
  • They know you’re a Christian

  • You’ve prayed for them out loud, in-person

  • You have their phone number and they have yours

  • You know something substantive about their life

 

Pre-Convert
  • You or someone in your house church has verbally shared the gospel with them

  • They understand both the cost and the reward of following Jesus

  • They know what they need to do to follow Jesus

  • They have visited your house church at least once

 

Convert
  • They believe the gospel

  • They want to be baptized

  • They are regularly attending and participating in your house church

 

New Disciple
  • They have been baptized in water

  • They are deliberately learning

    • Bible Reading

    • Church participation

    • Seeking answers to questions

  • They have started an active prayer life

  • Their life shows signs of transformation and repentance

 

Mature Disciple
  • They have been baptized in the Holy Spirit

  • They are STILL deliberately learning

    • Bible Reading

    • Church participation

    • Seeking answers to questions

  • They maintain an active prayer life

  • They hear God’s voice and minister to others accordingly

  • Their life is actively being transformed into the image of Christ

  • They know how to share their faith, and they do

  • They actively engage in the mission of making disciples

 

Note: Most Christians will remain at this stage, growing healthfully in Christ. Some will express ministries of prophets, evangelists, and teachers. 

 

Approximately 1 in 10 disciples will stand out as chosen by the Lord to pioneer new works or shepherd some of His growing flock. The following two steps are for them.

 

Apprentice
  • The house church (and especially the pastor) has identified consistent Christlike character traits that qualify this person for leadership

  • They have demonstrated a capacity to teach others effectively

  • They are being apprenticed by the house church pastor to learn how to lead a house church meeting and shepherd people.

  • They are attempting to make at least one new disciple in the field to which they feel called.

 

Leader
(Missionary-type or Pastor-type)
  • Missionary-type

    • They have made a new disciple and are actively reaching out to that person’s sphere of influence with the Gospel.

    • The sending house c