A Simple Tool to Help You Make Disciples

Friday Musings

A friend passed on this simple tool to me about 30 years ago. I rediscovered it’s usefulness in the last decade and have been using it to train others as well as in my own disciple-making efforts. Here’s what it looks like:

[Size of the Card is 5.5″ x 4″]

The objective is to move people from left to right, prayerfully, intentionally and in dependence upon the Holy Spirit (Left and right are simply directional markers. They have NOTHING to do with anyone’s perspective on politics.)

First, notice that the card is divided between those who are not committed to Christ on the left and those who are committed to Christ on the right. Looking at the left side, you will notice that there is another division between those with whom you have personal rapport and those with whom you have program rapport.

“Personal Rapport” = People with whom you have a personal relationship and who know that you love Jesus.

“Program Rapport” = People who have responded to some invitation of yours where some gospel content or experience occurred. It may have been anything from a backyard BBQ to attending a worship service with you. It might have been going to a ballgame with other brothers and sisters in Christ, or a Bible study, or a men’s night out for your Home Owners Association, or a __________ (be creative).

Eventually, sometimes in a month, sometimes in a decade, sometimes on a death bed, your friends begin to believe,

  • they repent of sin;
  • they believe the gospel;
  • they get baptized,
  • they begin to follow the risen Savior.
  • They begin to live passionately for and like Jesus.

They are now on the right side of the card. But, you will notice that the card is divided into two categories and three columns on the right side. The categories are “Needing Care” and “Willing to Care.” But the “Needing Care” category is divided into two more columns, “Unfolded” and “Folded.”

“Unfolded” = these men and women are believers in Christ but the primary influencers in their lives are still non-Christians, superstitions, unbiblical philosophies and old habit patterns or traditions. This is a period in their life where they are most vulnerable but also perhaps most effective because of all the non-Christians that they know.

“Folded” = These men and women now are folded into the body of Christ in such a way that other Christians, the Bible and a biblical world and life view are more influential in their lives than their previous associations and habits. They still need care but there is clear evidence that they have passed from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light.

The final column is the “Willing to Care” column. We all, always, need care, but as we grow in Christ, we begin to see the need to care for others. We begin to be more and more willing to sacrifice for the good of others. If not, there is something wrong with our discipleship and our progress in grace.

This is how I focus my efforts in praying for and making disciples out of the relationships that God privileges me to have.

Use it to make your interactions and prayer for people in your life more productive for the kingdom of God.

What do you think?

Marty Schoenleber, Jr. is the founding pastor of one church that planted 7 churches in nine years.  Over the last 35 years he has been the church planting trainer/mentor of over 200 other church planting pastors. He has served as adjunct professor of Church Planting at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, and has taught Preaching at the International School of Theology, as well as  Evangelism at Moody Graduate School of Theology. Today he serves pastors through Standing Stone Ministry – a ministry of care to pastors in crisis.
His latest books include Settlers or Sojourners? A Meditation on Christian Identity (The Sojourning Press, 2015)  and An Ordination Sermon by Robert M. McCheyne (The Sojourning Press, 2019). Marty has also served as Church Planting Missionary Consultant for the Great Lakes District of the Evangelical Free Church of America. To enjoy a free subscription to his blog, log-on to www.chosenrebel.wordpress.com, where you can post your comments, view past blogs in our archive and read the latest reflections on church planting, Biblical Expositions and musings about church, culture and spiritual formation. Follow Pastor Marty on twitter @1Chosenrebel4JC. 

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