We're in the middle of a three-part series that explores how Jesus started his Disciplemaking Learning Community (DLC)--and how you can follow in His steps.
This is the life God has always wanted you to have.
Part 2: Invite
Stop and consider the disciplemaking genius of Jesus: "And it came to pass in those days, He went out to the mountain to pray, and he spent the whole night in prayer to God. And being seated, when day came, He called to Himself His disciples, whom He wanted, and they went away to Him. And He chose twelve of them, whom He also named apostles, in order that they might be with Him, and that He might send them out to preach...." --Mark 3:13-14, Luke 6:12-13, from the Merged Gospels After praying, the next thing Jesus did as he formed his Disciplemaking Learning Community is that he called to himself those "whom he wanted." That is, Jesus chose twelve specific people and invited them to join him on a disciplemaking journey. To be sure, there were more than twelve disciples following Jesus at any given time (Luke 8:1-3). My point here is that Jesus chose twelve people and transformed them from disciples into disciplemakers by spending lots of time with them in a DLC. You will never join Jesus' wild, out-of-control movement of disciplemaking if you don't prayerfully choose a few people and pull them close for the purpose of helping them help others to follow Jesus.
You might want to stop and re-read that sentence above very carefully.
How can we know who God wants us to pull close for disciplemaking?
I actually believe if we ask God who we should pull close, he will show us--and he will speak to those people about it as well.
But, I must tell you that I haven't always faired as well as Jesus when it comes to inviting people to pursue a disciplemaking way of life together. Not everyone I invite responds with a "yes" to my invitation. Either I don't hear from God clearly (very possible and probable) and/or they aren't listening to God (also very possible and probable). I share this with you so that you won't grow discouraged if you experience the same thing. This makes gathering a DLC a fun journey. Here's something very interesting: A DLC can form so naturally and relationally that it doesn't feel forced or programmatic. How? As you pray and seek to connect with people on your short DLC prayer list, Jesus can begin to build your DLC without ever using the term DLC. No joke. I love it when this happens. It's so natural and organic. It's Jesus-like disciplemaking as a lifestyle—together. And that's the point.
For a number of months, my wife and I felt drawn to a few families who live very close in proximity to us. After months of praying for them and connecting with them as families in a variety of ways, we invited them to four different family gatherings during the summer months. Our times together that summer felt exactly like what I've written about in this series on The Disciplemaking Genius of Jesus. At the last summer gathering, the other families made it clear that our gathering together around Jesus had to continue. So it has. And now—just like Jesus' DLC—we're starting to see expansion to others. I think of this particular gathering as a family DLC—a gathering where families gather to learn to pursue the disciplemaking genius of Jesus together. Here's a caveat about starting DLCs: Sometimes leaders try to vision cast to the masses to form DLCs. I know this modus operandi is currently very popular in ministries. However, Jesus did not follow this particular leadership practice when he started his DLC. He chose 12. Jesus doesn't change the world by growing the tree and then putting a root system in place. Jesus changed the world--and continues to change the world today--through disciplemakers who prayerfully choose a few for the purpose of helping them help others to follow Jesus. Of course, Jesus' approach takes more time, work and doesn't feel leadership sexy. But stop and think about it. Never before have we had so much ministry activity and so little Jesus-like disciplemaking. Isn't it time to make Jesus our model for life and ministry? Beware of any DLC that doesn't start with you praying and choosing a few others as God directs.
All this to simply say: If you want to embrace the life God has always wanted you to have, pray for God to speak to you about who you should invite and then extend an invitation to gather around Jesus, together.
So what does this have to do with you and your disciplemaking adventure?
Are you actually taking the time to ask God who you should be pulling close?
Who might God be leading you to invite into a Jesus-like disciplemaking way of life, together?
What are you waiting for?
My hope is that The Life God Has Always Wanted You to Have will get you started and The Disciplemaking Genius of Jesus will keep you and the DLCs you're a part of anchored in the biblical DNA of Jesus-like disciplemaking.