Discipleship: How Did Jesus Do It?

Thursday is for Discipleship

Three men depicting Jesus Christ and two thieves are fastened to wooden cross during Holy Week celebrations in La PazHow did Jesus do it?  

Short answer, I don’t know. But I think we can see the outlines of the process in the pages of the gospels.

So in this post I want to continue to try to uncover what “INTENTIONAL WITHNESS” looks like. (This discussion began here on March 18, 2010.)

Jesus choose them, then spent 3-4 years with his disciples. During that time not once did he have a seminar on preaching, or prayer or discipleship or evangelism. Instead, his training and equipping of his disciples seemed to be heavy on the following elements:

  1. He lived with them. (Woke, ate, walked, rested, slept—everything.) The opportunity  for long term impact in such a context is immense. Why are retreats and camps and mission trips so effective? Answer: When you are with people 24/7  all the junk or internal depth of your life comes out. Jesus’ boys saw the reality of his walk with God and the result was an intoxicating desire to follow him.
  2. He conversed with themWe see snippets of this in the gospels but couple your imagination with the Hebraic teaching that most likely was the backdrop of Jesus’ model, namely Deut. 6:4-9.  If Jesus is following the model of Deuteronomy with his disciples–sitting in a house, when they walked along the way, when they lay down at night, when they rise in the morning and talking theology and kingdom–wow–they got one great theological education.
  3. He modeled for themJesus preached everywhere. He prayed all the time, sometimes all night. And everywhere he goes they are watching. I have learned a lot of things watching other people do stuff. There are things we can’t learn by watching, but there is a lot that we can.
  4. He gave them responsibilityFirst it was simple: get the people to sit, collect baskets of bread, collect baskets of fish, go get food, but one day, seemingly out of the blue, he pairs up 72 of his followers and sends them out to do what they had seen him do. Stunning!
  5. He left them. He entrusted the ministry to them and sent the Holy Spirit to empower them. Men and women never really take full responsibility for delegated authority until the delegator leaves. The baton had to be passed and it was passed by Jesus leaving. He continued his work of intercession at the Father’s side, but he left a model for us to follow.

There is more that I would like to develop but I am away from the office and my laptop keyboard is malfunctioning and making it difficult to write.  Maybe  that is enough to get us thinking.

© Copyright Marty Schoenleber, Jr. 2010

9 thoughts on “Discipleship: How Did Jesus Do It?

  1. Adding to that thought of Jesus being among them, I’m sure that meant his disciples could ask questions. One thing I feel churches everywhere could use more of is dialog. There seems very little opportunity for feedback and asking questions. It seems like mostly dictation. I learned most of my theology from radio talk shows in which the caller called in to ask questions.

    Dan Lawlis


  2. Four minutes before receiving your email, I received the email below from Ron Luce, one of the most effective leaders in the country when it come to helping teens become disciples:

    Discipleship is not a one-time event. It is a process of walking alongside a young person to see them become fully devoted and equipped followers of Christ.

    That is why we believe so much in what is happening at the Honor Academy. For one year, and even longer for some, teens come to fully devote themselves to pursuing Christ. As they are immersed in the Word and surrounded by committed Christian leaders, their whole life can change.

    That was Destiny’s story. She had no idea what was in store for her when she first came to the Honor Academy.

    “The biggest thing learned I learned at the Honor Academy is humility and considering others greater than yourself. I used to think I was all that, but I’m not.”

    Consumed by the Call,
    Ron Luce
    President & Founder
    Teen Mania Ministries, 22392 FM 16 W, Garden Valley, TX 75771.


  3. Great stuff Marty. Found this via Facebook. I’m going to add you to my list of blogs to keep up with.

    The Lord bless you,
    Dale Tedder


    1. Thanks Dale. I hope that the blog and the conversation continues to encourage the body. I will take a peek in at yours as well. Would love to hear your comments as a pastor of Discipleship.


  4. John 14:25, 26: “All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.”

    Jesus says this prior to Acts 2 – The Pentecost of the Holy Spirit. I believe that this verse could be saying two things:

    One, the Holy Spirit will teach you all things [that you have not learned from me];

    or Two, the Holy Spirit will teach you all things [including what I spoke on that you did not understand].

    If One is true, then how much of a supplemental role does the body of Christ play with regard to a person’s sanctification?

    If not all of the disciples of Jesus were Jews AND if Two is true, then it would follow that we are to have discipleship take place as part OF evangelism.

    What are your thoughts on this?


  5. The 6 words, “He entrusted the ministry to them,” is a component of discipleship entirely missing in much of modern day disciple making. I just spoke with a month old disciple yesterday and told him, “you clearly have the capacity to go a minister and evangelize people. Don’t wait for me or anyone else to give you the “OK.”


    1. Amen! Way to much paternalism and molly-coddleing (Sp?) of disciples. It exhibits a lack of trust in the Holy Spirit, too big a view of ourselves and our importance, and a western business/educational model. Release them.


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