First of all he talked about the nature of discipleship. Discipleship is investing in the life of others; helping them to learn, to imitate you; to be an apprentice of you and what you do. The Apostle Paul did this with men like Timothy, Silas and Titus. Part of discipleship is teaching others the truth of the gospel. As Paul says in 2 Timothy 1:13-14 What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus. Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you-- guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.
So the first part of discipleship is teaching others the truth of the gospel. The other part is modelling the Christian life; modelling what Godly living is all about. As Paul says in Philippians 3:17 Join with others in following my example, brothers, and take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you and in Philippians 4:9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me-- put it into practice. So discipleship is not just teaching it is also living and showing what the Christian life looks like as we disciple others. We need to show others what it looks like to live as a Christian.
Here Mal said it is worthwhile asking yourself are we living a life that people could copy or imitate? Because how we live is just as important as what we teach.
So how do we do this? It is very easy to impress from a distance but we can only have an impact on people up close. When it comes to discipleship we need to do 3 things. We need to (i) Pursue a Paul, (ii) Be a Barnabas; and (iii) Train a Timothy. We know from the New Testament Paul discipled other men, that Barnabas was known as the ‘Son of Encouragement’ (Acts 4:36) and that Timothy was one of the men Paul trained. And so Mal’s suggestion is that each of us ought to look to someone who is 6-8 years older than you and go and learn from them (a Paul); be an encourager of your mates and peers (a Barnabas); and seek out someone younger than you that you can train (a Timothy).
How might we do this? We could catch up for breakfast or coffee before work to read the Bible, talk about our Christian lives and pray. We could catch up for meals in our homes – just sharing life together. We could read a book together – read a chapter a week and come together and discuss it. We could join that older person’s growth group to learn from them. We could have intentional and prayerful conversations after church. There are lots of ways we can do it.
While Mal was addressing men at BASECAMP, discipleship is just as relevant to women. In Titus 2:3-4 Paul encourages the older women to teach and train the younger women. Paul’s emphasis here is on maturity, not age. It’s not necessarily to be ‘older’ in order to disciple another. You just need to be further along in your walk with Jesus. In any case, Mal’s maxim of Pursing a Paul, Being a Barnabas and Training a Timothy is just as relevant for women as it is for men.
But why do it? Because the gospel is at stake. We want to take the gospel and pass it on to the next generation. That means we need to be training and equipping future leaders, we need to be encouraging and strengthening today’s generation of men and women to keep running the race with perseverance and we need to be teaching the next generation the good news of Jesus.
This is why we want to be disciple making disciples. Will you be a disciple making disciple? What do you think your next step might be? What’s stopping you Pursing a Paul, Being a Barnabas and Training a Timothy? Because this is what Church@thepeak needs – disciple making disciples who follow Jesus with all their heart soul mind and strength.