Matthew 4:18-20 Walking along the beach of Lake Galilee, Jesus saw two brothers: Simon (later called Peter) and Andrew. They were fishing, throwing their nets into the lake. It was their regular work. Jesus said to them, “Come with me. I’ll make a new kind of fisherman out of you. I’ll show you how to catch men and women instead of perch and bass.” They didn’t ask questions, but simply dropped their nets and followed.
Jesus didn’t grab an army to start the mission. He didn’t gather a company or what we would call a church. When Jesus started the mission, he invited a dozen men one at a time to come and follow him doing something new.
Christian Discipleship isn’t now and never has been a mass program. It has always been a small – even one-on-one affair. Even Billy Graham’s mass rallies were designed to create a one-to-one connection with each person in the crowd and eventually connect them with a counselor and a pastor who would walk alongside them into the reign of God.
Many churches struggle to establish a fruitful pattern of discipleship by trying to get “everyone on board.” Leaders find themselves paralyzed by an individual or a committee that doesn’t cooperate. You don’t need everyone on board. It has been two thousand years since Jesus walked with his disciples and everyone is still not on board.
Since discipleship is about following Jesus, using the pattern He established is the most fruitful opportunity for any leader. Jesus selected a few receptive individuals from the entire nation of Israel and developed them as disciples. He didn’t start a program for them. He walked alongside them for three years and sent the Holy Spirit to confirm and strengthen them.
So when you are being called to make disciples, don’t try to steer the whole ship in a new direction. Use the small boat – pick two or three receptive people and invest time in their discipleship. It is a mutual thing. You’ll grow as much as they will in the process – perhaps even moreso!