How to Be More Intentional With Making Disciples

Updated: Apr 25

We are not here to twiddle our thumbs, we are here to make a difference. If we are going to make a difference in the lives of men, it is imperative that we have an intentional plan for making them disciples who make disciples. This intentionality is what will separate our disciple-making movements from amateurish to professional.

First, let’s start by establishing a disciple-making definition. Bobby Harrington in his book, The Disciple Maker's Handbook, provides a robust and formative definition for our terms. He defines them this way:

Disciple – someone who is following Jesus, being changed by Jesus, and is committed to the mission of Jesus (Matt. 4:19).

Disciple making – entering into relationships to help people trust and follow Jesus (Matt. 28:18–20), which includes the whole process from conversion through maturation and multiplication.

In order for this to happen, there are six ways we need to be intentional:

  1. Intentionally build relationships with men in your sphere of influence – Men generally are not going to knock on your door and ask if they can spend time with you and get to know you. You will need to leave your comfort zone, walk across the room, the yard, the office, or church lobby to interact with other men.

  2. Intentionally invite men to join your group – We know the optimal place for a man to grow in his faith is a small group. In order to form that group, you will want to make a list of men you know and ask them personally to join you. This may take a little time to do, but you will get the men you want.

  3. Intentionally build relationships with the men in your group – Building relationships takes time. But you will speed up the process if you get together with men outside of your group. That can be going to the game, having a meal, doing a service project, or having their family over for a barbecue! Let them see you practically live out your faith.

  4. Have an Intentional plan for growth- As the leader of the group you should know where each of your men are spiritually and where the next area of growth might be for them. When you meet with your men, ask them where they want to grow and how you can help them. One man may want to grow in his spiritual disciplines, another may want to grow in loving his wife. It will be different for every man in your group.

  5. Intentionally give away kingdom responsibility - One of our goals is to get men “out of the pew and into the game.” Here are a few things I have found helpful in doing just that:

  • Give them the opportunity to experience different ministries

  • Give them the opportunity to interact with a variety of gifted people

  • Give them the freedom to fail

  • Give them a push out of the nest

  • Provide on-the-job training (and never ask a man to do anything, unless you are willing to train them!)

6. Intentionally choose an apprentice for the group - Your ministry will only grow as leaders are developed and having an apprentice is a way for every leader to do just that. An apprentice is not a co-leader or an assistant leader, but rather, someone who is being equipped and trained to become a leader, who will be responsible for leading others. Your apprentice is your next leader. You will want to identify one or two men who are showing potential in leading others and start to give them responsibility for leading various components of the meeting. The ideal learning environment for an apprentice is where information is received and then applied in the context of relationship to create reproducible learning. This allows for both their character and competency development.

If there is one thing I have learned over the past 30 years of working with men it is this: if we expect anything to happen we need to take the initiative. Hopefully these are six ways that each of us can get started.

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