It's embarrassing to admit, but I can sometimes get lost in the abundance of resources we have available to disciple others. We have so many great options like Bible study workbooks, discipleship formulas, printed materials that explore topics of the Bible and how it pertains to life; there are so many things to choose from. But which material is the best? Well, recently it became blatantly obvious that I had lost sight of the main thing needed to make disciples.
Discipleship is life-on-life relationship, an intentional investment in the lives of others for the glory of God and spread of the gospel. Disciple makers embrace the truth that "our life is not our own" (1 Cor 6) and strive to live as a builder of God's kingdom (Matt 6:33) as they teach others to do the same (Matt 28:18-20). How do we do this???
I know that God gave us His Word, the Bible, to know Him and to be transformed by renewing our minds (Rom 12:2). I know that all disciples of Jesus must be students of His Word. I know that His Word is truth and He sanctifies us through His Word (John 17:17).
My "ah-ha" moment came when my girls struggled to make their personal time in the Word a priority. They were growing in knowledge of spiritual truths, memorizing verses, and learning to share the gospel, but could not seem to grasp the necessity of nurturing their personal relationship with Him. They even expressed that they weren't sure if they had a "personal relationship" with God or what it would look like if they did. Where did I go wrong???
I allowed my desire to be a disciple who makes disciples to get derailed by good information. In my previous D-groups, I used Scripture as well as various resources like short studies, handouts, and topical books with great success. Yet with these girls something was wrong, it was not going well, nothing brought His Word to life for them. They had the desire to know and follow Jesus and the desire to grow as disciples, but seemed to be lost in how all this looked in personal application. I did not realize what had happened until I paused and hit the reset button - the main thing was no longer the main thing.
Praise the Lord for revealing this to me. We started over with the goal of building a firm foundation on Truth; His Word provided all we needed. Extra resources can be complimentary to our time in the Bible but should never replace or even consume more of our time than study of His Word. The Bible must be the focus of our time together; disciples grow as they spend time in His Word.
I tell you this to hopefully deter you from my specific "ah-ha" moment. Studying the Bible with something as simple as the S.O.A.P. method (Scripture, observation, application, prayer) is all we need to grow strong disciple-makers. God provides the Holy Spirit to help us understand truth and keep us from wandering away - I am thankful for His reminder to keep the main thing, the Bible, always the main thing.
"By His divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life" (2 Peter 1:3). His Word, the Bible is the divine resource He has provided.
Pastor Bryan Loritts shares a great perspective on the story of Kanye West's conversion. It's a great read to help us think and speak on this culturally popular subject, bringing into our own journeys of discipleship.