Joining the Discipleship Revolution – Part 4

Guest post from Missions Frontiers by Robby Butler

From Fixed Curriculum to Coaching

One common weakness of discipling models is a “content only” approach—bringing someone through a curriculum which they are then to bring others through. Whatever this gains in apparent efficiency, it loses far more:

[+]  in adaptability to the Spirit’s leading and the needs of those involved, and

[+]  in modeling and coaching through unexpected developments.

Doctrinal correctness will not ensure a person’s fruitfulness. However as we coach people to become disciplers, they will grow in

[+]  Hungering for and abiding in God’s word.

[+]  Hearing and obeying God’s voice.

[+]  Living to please Him rather than others.

[+]  Trusting His provision and empowering.

[+]  Embracing His purpose and His Body.

We don’t learn to drive by hearing a lecture or reading a book, but by getting behind the wheel. With coaching from another, we get better.

Coaching doesn’t require knowing everything in advance, just a willingness to learn together. As we coach others who are discipling and then coaching others (both peers and disciples), we and they both learn new dimensions of things we may have previously assented to without really understanding.

Drawing Strength from Others

On our own we may find it difficult to pursue disciplemaking in the face of cultural pressures to simply be productive, but we can find strength in community. In just a few hours a month we can start meeting with colleagues for peer coaching to be disciplers.

Each of us has spheres of influence where we can become intentional about sharing tasks and enlisting and coaching others to become disciplers. We can also engage intentionally as catalysts for peer coaching as we learn together to enlist and coach generations of disciplers.

At its heart, discipling individuals is about loving, enjoying and caring for those God has given us—our family, colleagues and friends—and coaching these to fruitbearing maturity as the path to greater fruitfulness rather than simply expecting them to support us in our “more important” ministry.

Solving the Manpower Problem

In the Western church today, we generally pursue great achievements ahead of generations of disciplers. We thus perceive our primary need to be increased staffing to service our ministry vision.

If we would follow Jesus’ lead in discipling those He has given us, and in coaching them to produce generations of disciplers, this problem might disappear.

Next Steps

Bearing fruit in generations of disciplers won’t happen by accident. Let me suggest three steps you can take:

On a weekly or daily basis, enter the King’s presence and stay there until you sense that His agenda is covered. (Too often we check in and let Him know what we need without taking time to hear from Him.)

Meet once a month for three hours with family, two or three colleagues or friends, or two other couples. Plan and pray together for how you will each become intentional in winning and discipling others, and training them as disciplers. Adapt the T4T format. Rotate leadership. Have each report on a different article from this series.

Invite three or four other friends to follow your example of starting a monthly discipleship training strategy team, then gather all these teams once a month to learn from one another and compare notes on how God is leading you. Again, rotate leadership.

If you follow some adaptation of this plan, pray and expect each participant to start one or more such groups, then tell me about your experiences so we can learn from one another.


Check out the other articles in this series on discipleship:

Part 1  |  Part 2  |  Part 3

Click here to read the Endnotes for this Series