Making Disciples Is about Being Disciples

by Kimberly Reisman

There are a variety of academic ways to define evangelism, but at its heart it is about making disciples of Jesus Christ. And yet, if we are to make disciples, we ourselves must be disciples. And that takes work. How are you attending to your soul in these days?

Here are some ways to get you thinking…

First, how does God reveal himself?

As Christians, we believe in a Triune God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. This means that there are a variety of ways to think more deeply about God. God can be known in the beauty of creation. God can be known in the faithful covenants we discover in Scripture – in the journeys of Abraham and Sarah, in the great escape from slavery in Egypt, in the experiences of judges, monarchs, and mighty prophets.

Of course, God is most fully revealed in Jesus, God’s anointed one. And God’s presence is continually with us through the power of the Holy Spirit – God’s sacred breath within us.

Reflect on the ways you know God:

  • What are some passages of Scripture that speak to you most powerfully about the nature and work of God?
  • What long-standing convictions about God do Christians pass on to the next generation? What are the core values of the faith we are handing down?
  • Reflect on an experience where God has been a significant personal presence in your own life.

Second, who is this person Jesus?

In my work, I like to remind people that the Christian faith is not faith in general.

It has a very specific object – the living God, revealed in Jesus Christ. Jesus is not a spiritualized, mythic teacher, but was a real person. He lived in a particular place and time, and he is alive by the power of the Holy Spirit. In him, we are able to see the clearest, most complete image of what the eternal God is like that humans are capable of seeing.

This is remarkable because Jesus is God among us in human form – God in skin and bones. It is remarkable as well because in Jesus we see just how far God is willing to go to redeem and restore humanity and all of creation.

Reflect on your response to God’s work in Jesus Christ:

  • If Jesus had never lived, how would your ways of understanding God be different?
  • How would your motivation for doing good be different?
  • How does gratitude for the gift of Christ fill you with joy?

Finally, what is the role of the Holy Spirit?

When my youngest daughter was small, she mastered the skill of throwing a peanut into the air and catching it in her mouth. She was excited to show me her newfound talent; however, the moment I began watching, she began missing. I told her I was going to leave the room so she could practice a bit more, but that I would be close by. As soon as I left, she was once again able to consistently catch the peanut.

The disciples were never able to perform a miracle in Jesus’ presence; yet, after he left and they received the Holy Spirit, these same frightened and timid followers were transformed into powerful agents of the gospel. That transformative power was unleashed at Pentecost and the Holy Spirit has been remaking and restoring lives ever since.

Reflect on your understanding of the Holy Spirit:

  • What works of the Holy Spirit can you identify in your own life?
  • In your community?
  • Around the world?

Our witness for Christ is always strengthened when we become keenly aware of our journey in Christ. I pray that you will attend to your journey in Christ, so that others might be able to more clearly see him in you.

 

Kimberly Reisman (@KimsNextStep) is executive director of World Methodist Evangelism. An author, pastor, teacher, and theologian, Kim is a frequent speaker, focusing on evangelism, spiritual formation, women’s ministries, leadership development, and the intersection between faith and culture. She is an elder in the United Methodist Church and has written numerous books. She has a PhD in theology from Durham University in the United Kingdom.