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We have come to see that “make disciples” is not just for missionaries; it is also about ministry in the congregations.

What did His disciples hear in the Greek word matheeteusate, make disciples?(Matthew 28:19)

According to Arndt and Gingrich, it means, “to be or become a pupil or disciple, become a disciple, make a disciple of.”  No problem. But did His disciples hear more than that?

The disciples had been called by Him and trained by Him for some three years. He was training them to be His church and to build His church. He trained them that as they had received from Him, they would pass on to others. He was saying: “You, my disciples, are to make disciples of others.” That is, as I have trained you to pass it on, you are to train others so that they too pass it on. In the disciples’ experience, making disciples meant making disciples who would go on to make disciples. And so on...

We read Matthew 28:19 as applying to them and as applying to us. But I have to admit that my 45 year congregational ministry was strong on sermons (2 every week, and 2 or 3 services every Sunday), but little care that what was taught and preached was received and processed so it could be passed on to others. Yes, clear applications in the sermon, but little else. I had to get to work on next Sunday’s sermons. So with some embarrassment I have to admit that many of my hearers had little or no recall on Wednesday of what they heard preached on Sunday.

SUM: Jesus said to them, “Make disciples.” That is, Jesus was saying, I have made you into disciples; now you do the same. And that includes making disciples who make disciples. This takes time and effort.

Many of us, including me, have keen regret when we look back on ministry with little accountability for disciples being trained to make more disciples. And seldom did my disciples make disciples.

How shall we obey the one who calls us to make disciples who make disciples, with Him as our model?


How do you disciple a new believer? We tend to make disciples the way we were discipled but for so many of us that meant coming to sit at church and not learning how to make disciples who make disciples. Jesus recognized that the people He encountered were at different stages of growth and development, and He worked to challenge each of them to the next level. 

Who then should attend the 4 Chair Discipling Seminar?  Anyone who you want to see challenged to be a disciple who makes disciples!  During the 4 Chair Discipling Seminar, we will answer the following questions: 

• What is a disciple?

• Who is the model for being a disciple?

• What is a disciple's mission?

• What is a disciple's motivation?

• What is the process of becoming a disciple who makes disciples?

• Where am I in the disciple-making process?  What are my next steps?

In 4 Chair Discipling, you’ll get a clear and simple picture of how to follow in Jesus’ footsteps and to do the same thing. Included in the 4 Chair Discipling Seminar:

• A fresh look at Jesus as our model for being a disciple who makes disciples

• An overview of the 4 Chair Discipling process, highlighting Jesus' 4 challenges

• A simple understanding of what we need to know and do to grow to be like Jesus in our character and priorities

• A simple understanding of what we need to know and do to become fishers of men

• A simple understanding of the barriers that keep us from moving to the next chair and how we experience breakthrough

May the Lord bless every CRC church and every believer with the joy of making disciples who make disciples who make disciples…

If you would want more information about the 4 Chair Discipling seminar Contact Sonlife Ministries ( or Pastor Jim Halstead is a certified Sonlife 4 Chair Trainer (Community CRC, Fort Wayne, IN) [email protected]

In Greg Ogden's manual, "Discipleship Essentials", the opening lesson starts with, "Discipling is an intentional relationship in which we walk alongside with other disciples in order to encourage, equip and challenge one another in love to grow toward maturity in Christ. this includes equipping the disciple to teach others as well."

One has to take the time to build a relationship with a neighbour, colleague or friend before inviting them to join you on a journey to meet Christ. I don't know if it is apathy on the part of CRC people, but they do not seem overly concerned with the "lost". One  way to build relationships is to invite them to your home for a meal. Again, CRC people like to socialize with CRC people, who they are comfortable with. 

I was blessed to be part of a discipleship group, with a pastor who had previously led 2 other groups on a one year journey. The result was that everyone who took discipleship became a leader in the church, either in council or a ministry. When I tried to engage others in a discipleship group, I was turned down. CRC people don't like to have to share about themselves. I did disciple one inmate in a prison and we completed 22 of the 24 lessons before he got transferred. None of the 15 - 20 people in our church, who took the discipleship course, have discipled anyone else. Perhaps we need to check out what the Baptists are doing. In my area they are planting churches with great success, based on prayer and requiring new members to tithe.

I have a men's group that meets once a week for Bible study and accountability. Most of us are volunteers with Kairos Prison Ministry, which holds weekends in federal prisons and then returns weekly or monthly to meet with weekend participants and their friends. We sing, pray and then meet in small groups to share accountability questions. These meetings are very powerful in growing men's faith. We also encourage them to attend the numerous Bible studies that are available in these institutions.

We have tried to start discipleship classes with released residents, but they are resistant to committing to the 24 weeks required.


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