When God created the world, it was perfect. Everything worked perfectly for the good of humanity. However, the Devil deceived Eve into eating the forbidden fruit, and sin entered the world.

Since then, the world has been plagued by and with wickedness. Since then, Corruption has paraded the heart of humankind and society. Corruption has found its seat in almost all men’s seats, from medicine to law and even to the Church. All sectors today seem corrupt. Men in authority have become so powerful that they disobey the law of the land at will without question. Regrettably, some of these persons go to Church while some occupy ministerial positions in the Church. They are rich and gifted but not committed to God’s work.

These problems are associated with a lack of proper discipleship. Discipleship is the process of following Jesus and learning from Him. It is about being transformed into His likeness. When correctly disciplined, people are less likely to engage in wicked acts. They are more likely, to be honest, just, and compassionate. They are more likely to use their gifts and resources to help others. The world needs more disciples. We need men and women who will live like Christ even in the middle of this crisis-ridden world. We need more professionals to be Disciples of Christ. This is the great task of all disciples, go and make more disciples.

The Importance of Love And Unity In Disciple-Making

Love and unity in the body of Christ are essentials for disciple-making. When the Church unites in love to disciple its members, the kingdom of God will be enlarged, and the people of God will grow in

Christlikeness. God wants His followers to follow Him and become like Him. However, we will stumble and fall on the faith journey when we walk alone or face difficulty, pain, and loss. As that happens, other people around us in love and unity will encourage and assist in whatever way possible. This is fundamental to discipleship.

However, the Discipleship ministry in our churches will grow in love and unity when members realize that they have a common goal to go and make disciples of all nations…’ and that everyone has a part to play in achieving the goal. Through God’s gift of love, members of a Christian community will become a blessing to each other, helping one other to grow spiritually and make more disciples. Above all, if the Discipleship Training Ministry in our churches will grow financially, numerically, and spiritually, members must work in love and unity.

Who is a Disciple?

The word “disciple” literally means a learner or an apprentice. A disciple is someone who has been baptized and accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. They are committed to following Jesus and taking on His nature. Jesus trained His followers for three years so they could make new disciples. Pastor A.W. Tozer said, “Only a disciple can make a disciple.” It is Jesus’ disciples to make more disciples. The Christian life cannot be lived in isolation. It requires investing in the lives of others. Paul said, “Join together in following my example, brothers and sisters, and just as you have us as models your eyes on those who live as we do” (Philippians 3:17). Paul’s mentoring relationship with Titus emphasizes the importance of making disciples until they grow to maturity and can disciple others.

Pope Francis reminds us that discipleship is not a passive activity. It requires intentional and strategic effort. We should not wait for people to come to us to be disciples. According to Jesus’ command, we must go out and make them. This is a strategic and intentional work plan.

The Concept of Discipleship

Christian discipleship is a lifelong process of following Jesus and learning from Him. It is about being transformed into His likeness and becoming fruitful in our service to Him. Gbile Akanni affirmed that discipleship is a process whereby a Christian who voluntarily surrenders themselves to the Lord Jesus Christ is being made to become like Jesus through various exposures, activities, and disciplines administered by that discipleship begins with the process of bringing people to the saving definitions can be summed up as Christlikeness and fruitfulness, which is more than teaching people God’s knowledge or some facts about Jesus. Relationship with Jesus in becoming more like Him in everything.However, the disciple and the disciple-maker.

What Discipleship is Not

My experience in the last few months in the Discipleship Training Ministry of the Christian Education Department has made me observe that many people do not know the true meaning of discipleship. Therefore, we consider it necessary to discuss what discipleship is by seeing what it is not.

It is not just head knowledge: Discipleship has been defined as a process of becoming like Jesus. Although available books can help members growspiritually, it is not about completing them within a specified period.

It is not a mere programme: Discipleship is a lifelong journey, not a program. It focuses on the being and doing of the believer(John 6:66-67).

It is not for unbelievers: Discipleship is not meant for the unsaved. It is for those who have accepted Jesus as their Lord and Saviour so that they will grow unto maturity in their spiritual journey.

It is not measured by Church attendance: Attending Church regularly does not imply discipleship or a guarantee of maturation. Jesus regularly delivered sermons to large crowds and then spent time instructing and training His disciples. He didn’t instruct the crowd.

It is not about the certificate: One thing that interests some people most in discipleship is certification. Some churches go to the extent of making branded uniforms in preparation for their graduation to receive certificates. What use is graduation when there is no evidence of newness in Christ?

The Demands of Discipleship

The demands of discipleship thrive on the intentionality of the disciple. Therefore, discipleship involves the readiness to:

To obey Jesus’ Command: Jesus said to the Jews who believed in Him, ‘If you hold to my teaching, you are my disciples. (John 8:31)

  1. To love one another: Love is the defining characteristic of Christians. We must follow His example and make disciples in love.
  2. To bear much fruit: Jesus said to His disciples, “This is to my Father’s torn, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.”(John disciples (Mathew 28:19) and serving them, spreading the gospel, and setting a godly example as a true disciple.
  3. To Commit yourself to Christ wholeheartedly: Discipleship involves everything to follow you”(Mark 10:28).
  4. To deny self: Discipleship takes courage. Jesus said, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”(Luke 9:23). The disciples of old lived by these principles, and they were able to make more disciples.

The Practical Task for Effective Discipleship

The task of discipleship is enormous. Besides small groups in the Church, discipleship can also take place in the market, schools, business places, football centres, etc. However, discipleship provides an opportunity to:

Search the Scriptures: One of the most exciting aspects of the discipleship ministry is the opportunity to search the Scriptures as the primary textbook.

Ask questions: The nature of small-group discipleship allows members to ask questions and contribute to another’s accountability partner in punctuality, commitment, regularity, and visitation.

Build a Great Church: Building a great church is achieved when members worship God through character and meet God’s criteria.

Disciple others: A discipleship ministry is an effective tool for evangelists for the need to disciple other people until they become disciples.

Train and nurture leaders: The discipleship ministry is a recruitment of potential leaders who are identified and encouraged to accept leadership positions.

Here are some implications of the lack of discipleship programmes in the Church.

Lack of discipline: When members are not adequately disciples, they are likely to be fault-finders, troublemakers, and quarrelsome. They live their lives as if they are not answerable to anyone.

Lack of commitment: Undiscipled members are careless about God’s things and give excuses. Discipled members serve God with their gifts.

Division: Lack of proper discipleship of members can strengthen disunity among members. While a few are building, others will destroy the work through unconstructive criticism.

Lack of understanding: Many weak Christians will be “dull in hearing, “according to the author of Hebrews (Hebrews 5:11-14).

No discernment: People will lack discernment and cannot distinguish between good and evil.

Tips for Growing Discipleship Ministry

a) Evaluate the ministry regularly.

b) Entrusts discipleship into the hands of disciples and not just anybody.

c) Look for people who have been disciples and display Christian maturity.

d) Have regular training for disciples who serve as facilitators.

e) Be flexible, especially about the time of the meeting.

f) Give progress reports or challenges to the pastor and our Baptist Building, Ibadan office.

g) Be committed to the ministry and cooperate with other Church ministries.

Conclusion

Discipleship is an integral part of the Great Commission, and churches should restructure their plans and double their efforts to disciple members. In three years, Jesus trained His followers to make new disciples. Christ’s call was not just to believe in Him but also to be His disciples. We should model our lives after Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit out of love for God the Father and one another. We should not wait for people to come to us but go and make disciples of all nations as educating evangelists, according to God’s standards.