Christian men: There’s an important task that many Christians have neglected in recent times that is vital for Kingdom work: choosing disciples. While the entire Bible is full of “chosen ones,” I think the greater application comes from the New Testament. Time and space won’t permit a full rendering of how to Biblically choose disciples today, so let me break it down into some basic thoughts.
Jesus chose His disciples. We know that, of course. John the Baptizer also had disciples who we assume were chosen by him (John 1:35). Handpicking followers was common in their day, and really, in days not long ago. Also, some people chose to be disciples on their own, like Joseph of Arimathea, Ananias of Damascus, Tabitha of Joppa, Mnason of Cyprus, and many others who heard and embraced the Good News and the Author of the Good News.
Because we are divinely commanded to make disciples (Matthew 28:19), we can, and should, handpick our own disciples, as well as recognize when someone chooses on his own to be discipled by us. This disciple-making embodies the ideas of being active, consistent, and intentional in the processes of reaching others for Christ and then teaching them how to live for Him. Not just once or once in a while or temporarily, but always being found faithful in the disciple-making process.
Some in Jesus’ day declared themselves to be followers of dead people, as the Pharisees did in John 9:28 when they said, “You are His disciple, but we are Moses’ disciples.” That still happens today when people follow misleading principles voiced by wrong-headed people who died long ago, or not so long ago, or who are dead in their own sins: Buddhism, Communism, Humanism, Islam, Marxism, Racism, Socialism, and other isms and non-Christian religions. But when one makes the decision to follow Jesus, he or she becomes a disciple of the Living Lord – emphasis on LIVING.
Just as Jesus chose disciples, so should we. If that scares you, look at it as mentoring, or rather, intentional mentoring. For seasoned Christian men, this means that we should be busy choosing our disciples from any or every age group: our own sons, other boys and teen guys, young men, and even our peers. The question is: Have you chosen your disciples? These will be people, young and old, in whom you invest personal time and energy, and huge other parts of yourself. These are the ones who will disciple others after you have stepped down, stepped aside, or stepped up (to Heaven!).
Ask God to make your heart thump a little harder when you consider certain ones to be your disciples. And don’t forget that there are a few who want to come along side you and learn the ways of the Master.