We have a tendency to overcomplicate things into difficult processes when, in fact, life is complicated enough as it is. Why do we do this, and how do we stop? We do this at work, at home, at school, and in all of life. When it comes to making disciples, Jesus gave us a simple pattern for making disciples that he expects to do, not just study about. The process is this simple:
Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.
Read Matthew 4:18-20; Mark 1:16-20; Luke 5:2-11; John 1:4-42
Following the narrative of Matthew’s gospel, Jesus called his first disciples just after his baptism and temptation. As he was walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew, who were disciples of John the Baptist (see John 1:40-42). Luke also tells us that Simon and Andrew were fishing partners with James and John, the sons of Zebedee (Luke 5:10). As Jesus passed by Simon (Peter) and Andrew, he issued them a call, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”
This simple, yet profound statement can be broken down into three simple components.
This is Jesus’ call to all people. It’s so simple that one can misunderstand. Just “follow me.” It’s comprehensive in that it’s a whole life invitation requiring a whole life response. And our response must be unconditional. These first disciples followed Jesus immediately, without hesitation. They left all behind.
And I Will Make You
Our response to Jesus’ invitation is a total surrender to his power to transform us from who we are into who He desires to shape and mold us.
Fishers of people
Jesus’ call has a plan and purpose: that he transforms us into people who make disciples of other people. We are not called to sit in the boat, but to actively fish in the waters!
In these few verses, Jesus gives us his simple and effective model for making disciples. It is so simple, yet so profound.
Find People Who are Spiritually Hungry
In your circles of influence, look for people who are spiritually hungry and thirsty to grow in relationship with God — people who are eager to grow. You will recognize them from your organic relationships: family, friends, members of your Bible study group, co-workers, colleagues, etc. Just as Jesus found his first disciples among those who were already John’s disciples, look around and discover those two or three people who are like yourself: starving for relationship with Christ and wanted to grow in him.
Give A Simple Invitation
Make it simple. Jesus said, “Follow me.” Pretty simple. The idea of following is not “let me teach you what I know.” It is more, “Let’s do the Jesus-life together, encouraging each other, holding each other accountable, praying for one another, sharing God’s life-victories with each other.” Imitate me as I also imitate Christ. (1 Corinthians 11:1 CSB)
Make Your Intentions Clear
The end result is that you will become a disciple who will make more disciples, who will, in turn, make more disciples. Jesus’ process replicates over and over, generation after generation. You are not starting a small group that will meet for years with little or no outreach. You are building mentoring relationships that result in your mentees become mentors of others. Paul expressed this process in one simple verse:
What keeps you from making disciples? Do you have a plan? How is it working?