Helping others live better requires that you live better. You must be the example. And there is no better way to live than as a disciple of Jesus Christ. So, be a disciple and teach others how to be disciples, and you will help others live better.
Discipling others boils down to three basics: Pray, befriend, and teach.
Prayer reminds you that you are doing God’s work not your own. Seek His plan and direction. Follow His lead. Jesus demonstrated this in His life as He discipled the men around Him. Prayer was a visible and obvious part of His life. The disciples saw Him pray in the morning, throughout the day, and in the evening. He prayed to His Father to help those He ministered to with insight, healing, and guidance. His relationship with His Father was real, and it was evidence to everyone who saw Him. Your prayer life will not only serve as a resource to aid your ministry, but more importantly, it will demonstrate your love for God. And it is your love for Him, that Jesus said is the most important thing you can do and teach others to do.
Second, being a friend is showing the love of God that comes from your own relationship with Him. God’s love is summed in John 3:16 saying, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” When you love God and walk with Him, you will possess His love for others and His concern for their souls. God’s love in you will help to win the souls you help to disciple. It is this quality that Jesus said is a distinct trademark of His disciples saying to His disciples, “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another” (John 13:35). As with prayer, your love for others will be a testimony of your love for God, which is the first and great commandment to apply in your life and to teach your disciples to apply in their lives.
The third basic element of discipling others is to teach them the Word of God. God’s Word is food for the soul. It gives instruction for doctrine, character, and skill development. It is the standard by which attitudes, ideas, and actions are to be tested as being right or wrong. And as such, it should come as no surprise that you should follow Paul’s example described in Acts 20:27 where he says, “…I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.” This means that you too need to be a student of God’s Word. Obviously, you can’t teach what you do not know. Fortunately, there are many great teachers to learn from. Take your disciples along with you, and talk about what you are learning.
Like anything else learned in life, learning the whole counsel of God comes one step at a time. Isaiah 28:10 puts it this way saying, “For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little.” The wisdom of teaching is matching the appropriate lesson with the disciple. Time to pray! Time to find out what God’s Word recommends to teach first! Jesus told His disciples in John 16:12, “I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.” Pray for wisdom to personalize lessons, and understand how God prioritizes topics. According to Hebrews 5:13-14, there is milk for the babe and immature, and there is meat for the mature. Knowing this helps us understand that having the wisdom to match appropriate lessons to the needs of disciples is important. Fortunately, God has named and prioritized, in His Word, some lessons for us that are appropriate for everyone to be taught first. Let’s consider what Jesus did.
What was Jesus’ purpose for coming to earth? In Luke 19:10, He said, “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” As His disciples, our purpose is the same. This is your calling in life: to seek and save that which was lost.
What did Jesus and His disciples do to seek and save the lost? They taught His Word, spoke of His Spirit, and built His church as it was appropriate for those they met.
To the critics and skeptics, Jesus answered their questions and challenged them over issues of credibility. First Peter 3:15 tells us to do likewise saying, “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.” This is the ministry of apologetics, which is all about giving answers. It is an important part of ministry mentioned many times in the Bible. Jude 1:3 exhorts, “… that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.” For apologetic resources to help you answer questions click here. Other helpful books by Dr. Briney include:
- Answers for Skeptics (Español, Czech), gives evidence for God’s existence, Jesus’ resurrection, Biblical inspiration, creation, and explains why a loving God allows suffering in the world.
- Bible Answers to Bible Questions (Spanish), answers to over 450 questions most often asked in Bible studies).
- Convincing the Gainsayers: Deity of Jesus Christ (Español), Can you show in Scripture why Jesus is God? Some use the Bible to argue that He is not. This lesson is a written dialogue showing how to answer those who do not believe that Jesus is God.
- Convincing the Gainsayers: Saved by Grace (Español), Can you show in Scripture why salvation is by grace and not works? Some use the Bible to argue that it is by works or both grace and works. This lesson is a written dialogue showing how to answer those who do not believe that salvation is by grace only.
- Questions about God, 63 questions about God that are asked often about God such as the trinity and how a sinless God could create sinners.
For the lost, Jesus taught them how to be saved. He showed His disciples how to sow and water the Gospel seed of truth. Paul said in Romans 1:16, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation….” Learning how to clearly and effectively communicate the Gospel message is an absolute essential in discipleship training. Every Christian should be an expert witness of how to be saved being able to give personal testimony of the salvation experience. Check out these excellent resources to help you learn how to share the Gospel.
- Knowing God Personally, study guide, (Español, Portuguesa), This Gospel lesson shows the why and how to be saved clearly and briefly. It is great for a one time study or to begin the six lesson Gospel Truth Series.
- The Gospel Truth series. These six lessons are the Bible Concepts with evangelistic emphasis. The lessons begin with Knowing God Personally, followed by Designed to be Spiritual, which explains humans needs from the perspective of the Biblical human design of body, soul, and spirit. The next lesson, Reasons for Human Suffering, explains important concepts such as the law of sin and death, human nature, and God’s nature as they relate to spiritual needs and the futility of saving one’s self. This is followed by the God is the Answer lesson, which explains how God solves our dilemma of condemnation, defines grace and mercy, and reveals why the diety and death of Jesus are essential. The next lesson, How to be Saved answers the question, “What must I do to be saved?” by defining trust, belief, and repentance, and explaining Romans 10:9-13. The sixth lesson titled, the Born again Experience, explains what it means to be born again, to have an incorruptile inheritance, to be imputed with the righteousness of God, and to have eternal life.
- The Five A’s of Evangelism, outline
- The Five A’s of Evangelism, lecture guide
- Saved by Grace (Español), A great little booklet explaining the doctrine of salvation and eternal security (once saved always saved). Included is a list of grace verses and explanations to frequently twisted ‘works’ verses.
- Jesus Lord God and Savior (Español), Here is a presentation of verses with explanation of the trinity showing that Jesus Christ is indeed God as well as the Son of God, though the son of man, and why Jesus is the only name under heaven given among men whereby they must be saved.
For the spiritual babes, Jesus taught by example and lessons. He gathered His new disciples together and showed them what to do. From Jesus’s example, the disciples learned the fundamentals of loving and nurturing their love for God. Jesus taught and demonstrated how to live by God’s Word, how to depend on and be led by the Spirit of God, and how to love others to build His church. Hebrews 6:1-2 lists some of the ‘milk’ topics that need to be taught. But Jesus said the first and great command to learn is to love Him. And there are other topics of importance to teach a new Christian that addresses their vulnerabilities to establish them in the faith. Thirteen of these topics are listed in Dr. Briney’s book, “Facts for New Christians “. Another useful tool to help you teach new Christians appropriate topics is the study guide, “Follow-up Lessons for Spiritual Growth“.
If a young Christian obeys the Word of God and His Spirit, he will be led to join a local, new testament church. The book of Acts shows that members of the early church “… continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers” (Acts 2:42). Acts 5:42 says of the early church that “…daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.” And Ephesians 4:12 lists three benefits God intends for His church to fulfill: “For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.” Clearly, learning how to serve in Christ’s church is of vital importance to new church members. Here are three books to help you teach others about the church:
- The Local, Visible Nature of the Church (Spanish), Today’s confusion about what the church is has weakened the saints and local churches. This book gives a brief history of how the doctrine of the church corrupted and then categorizes and explains every Bible verse that describes the church to give students insight into the difference between the family of God and the church of God.
- Understanding the New Testament Church (Spanish), Insight is revealed by this study comparing the old testament house of witness (Israel) with the new testament house of witness (church). The ordinances are explained, and readers learn how God uses the church to build the saints and preserve truth on earth.
- Finding the Right Church (Spanish), “Which church is the right church for me” is a frequent question. This study examines the doctrines and historical principles necessary to finding the right church.
As a Christian serves Christ through a local church, training continues. Spiritual growth never ends as one is always engaged in nurturing His love for God. He will continue to study and learn the Word of God which will require lessons on how to study God’s Word. He will need to learn how to be sensitive to and led by the Spirit of God. And he need to learn how to improve his skills of ministry in teaching, leading, serving, and training others to disciple others. There is a lifetime of lessons to take advantage of from God’s Word and personal experiences that will add to a disciple’s spiritual growth. Here are resources to help you advance disciples in their growth.
- Bible Concepts (Spanish), Here is a wonderful, tried and true systematic concept study of vital Biblical principles and doctrines. These lessons take students beyond what to believe. Its systematic approach shows students, simply and easily, why doctrines are true, why certain answers must be true, and why reading the Bible with understanding is possible. The insights students gain in this study series makes it the best for laying a foundation of doctrinal understanding and Bible study.
- Multiply! Your Life for Christ (Published by Challenge Press, Inc.) Dr. Briney’s book is designed to begin where it ends, and end where it begins to demonstrate how discipleship is a process intended to repeat itself over and over again. With its emphasis on goal oriented discipleship, students are equipped with a vision, a plan, and tools to multiply disciples. It is a great instruction book for every disciple and disciple maker desiring to develop ministry skills.
- Pursuit of Spiritual Growth (Spanish), Personal goals and disciplines are essential for spiritual growth and maturity. This study guide helps disciples build the skills to be effective Bible students, prayer warriors, soul winners, and disciple makers. The Multiply Your Life for Christ book is based on these series of lessons.
- Knowing God’s Will (Spanish), Is there a question more frequently asked than, “What is God’s will for my life”? This booklet spells it out for those asking the question and shows just how easy it is to discover God’s will.
- Bible Study Method (Spanish), Second Timothy 2:15 exhorts us to be students of God’s Word. This lesson guides students into fruitful Bible learning with study skill advice and recommended study resources.
Passing on the skills to study the Word of God and the conviction to live by Its instruction is the most important thing you can do at this point. A disciple needs to learn how to listen to God through His Word, by His Spirit, and in His church. It is this independence that strengthens a disciple spiritually and builds invaluable experience that will serve him well for the rest of his life as a servant of God.