Disciples Who Make Disciples
“Then [Elisha] arose and went after Elijah and assisted him.” 1 Kings 19:19-21
Here in this story of Elijah and Elisha, we get a picture of a unique relationship of mentor and mentee. If you are familiar with the story, you’ll remember that Elijah was a powerful prophet who was ultimately raptured—never tasting death! How could the mentee Elisha ever out-do that? Yet Elisha asked for a double portion of Elijah’s spirit which resulted in a fruitful ministry for Elisha that some would argue surpassed that of his mentor.
Back at a previous church, I discipled a young man from another church who subsequently became a church planter. It was a wonderful relationship of mentor and mentee that brought us both joy and support for many years. A couple years into his church plant he called me for some advice about how to grow his new church. After talking about discipleship, theology of ministry, and some practical matters, I finally asked, “How many people are actually coming?” He answered: “Well, we have about 500 after a year but we think we can reach more!” My own church had only grown by 100 so I responded, “I need to learn from you!” Of course my mentee could really care less about the numbers but my point is that a good mentor takes on mentees knowing that he/she may likely surpass them in significant ways. That’s actually a blessing that we see with Elijah and Elisha, but some leaders don’t actually mentor with the intention of seeing mentees surpass them. Perhaps they fail to do so out of insecurity or ignorance, but leaders should expect that God’s assignment to invest in raising up leaders might very well mirror this experience of mentee surpassing the mentor. We need more women and men who are committed to be a disciple who in turns make disciples. It’s been a personal joy to see so many of those I’ve discipled go off to lead their own churches, minister to the poor and impact their sphere of influence in significant ways that far surpasses any knowledge I’ve passed on to them. That's the Holy Spirit at work!
Not many people have heard of Pastor Mordecai Ham. Pastor Ham was leading a revival back in 1934 when a young man gave his life to Christ. The boy’s name was Billy Graham! With Pastor Ham’s initial support, Billy would go on to share the gospel to over 200 million, used by God to impact hundreds of thousands with the spoken and lived gospel of Christ. That’s the power of a mentor! How’s that for a disciple making a disciple! But the mentor needs to be humble enough to know that those we invest in may very well surpass us and we must remember that at our core a leader is one who influences others. Disciples making disciples is what we’re called to do. It’s not just for Jesus or for Pastor Ham or Elijah or the pastor. We’re all called to “Go and make disciples” not only through conversion but towards maturity in their whole lives.
Something to Think About
Our new mission statement says, “We glorify God and make disciples by Connecting People to Christ through small acts of great love every day.”
Have you ever regularly helped another disciple grow in their faith? In addition to the Bible, what tools did you find helpful? Could you make time this next year to walk alongside someone looking to grow in Christ?
Lord, you call us all to become disciples and make disciples. We may not be a pastor or prophet or evangelist but you have called us to be uniquely ourselves. Use to help make disciples and help them grow into maturity. Show me opportunities to do so in my life.
NOTE from Tim:
I’ll be taking a break from weekly devotions but am excited to begin indoor worship on April 25 as well as continue live-streaming services for those watching from home. Please stay connected to us and let us know how we can walk with you in this season. I hope to see on April 25!