Discipleship Building Blocks
Disciples of Jesus don’t just believe or follow – they do. They’re intent on learning about Jesus, obeying Jesus, and so much more importantly, becoming like Jesus. That’s right, we’re supposed to be teaching, praying, serving, helping, and doing the will of the Father – just like Jesus did.
One major focus Jesus had was the making of disciples. To be a disciple of Jesus means that, like Jesus, you’re intentionally involved in making disciples…who, in turn, will make other disciples. But of course, you can’t make a disciple if you’re not first a disciple yourself, right?
Did you know that we are told to “make disciples,” not just believers or followers of Jesus (Matthew 28:18-20)? Being a believer in Jesus is a necessary starting point, and being a follower of Jesus is a good next step, but if you want to be all that Jesus wants you to be, then you need to consider doing the things necessary to become a disciple of Jesus.
One way to look at discipleship is to see it as an apprenticeship relationship. Just as an apprentice learns his trade from a master craftsman so he or she can one day be a master craftsman who can train an apprentice; a person who wants to be a disciple of Jesus learns from a disciple of Jesus so he or she can, in turn, make disciples – who can go on to multiply even more disciples.
The 16 Building Blocks
Come on Board
Learn the Ropes
Join the Crew - Connect
Set Sail - Impact
"A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher." (Luke 6:40)
The followers of Jesus were all called his disciples. That’s 100% true. However, it’s equally true that the followers of Jesus were called to be fully trained disciples of Jesus and go on to make disciples (Mt 28:18-20; Luke 6:40). While that’s biblically correct, the reality is that many Christians today wear the label of “disciple” but aren’t really doing discipleship. Why is that? Partly because every other Christian is wearing that label so they think it’s the standard to simply “follow” Jesus and partly because they have never been fully trained to make disciples. That’s right, making disciples doesn’t come naturally or with age; it only comes about with motivation, intentionality, and training.
Here’s what many Christians today think discipleship is:
Pastoral care. This is when you get together with someone – regularly or on occasion – to pray with each other, to read the bible together, and generally care for each other over a cup of coffee or tea (1 Thes 5:11). This is great! It’s shepherding and showing love at its finest. Keep doing stuff like this.
Teaching. This is when you take a class or meet with someone to gain knowledge of the Word, will, and ways of God (2 Tim 2:2). We’re supposed to be increasing in knowledge, so of course, teaching is a really good thing. There are always more things to learn, so keep doing this too.
Evangelism. This is when you’re sharing the gospel with non-believers with the hope that they come to faith in Jesus (Mt 4:19). Yes, yes, yes, everyone should be doing this! Don’t stop doing this.
Mentoring: This is really about growing in the grace and knowledge of Jesus (2 Pt 3:18). Typically, this involves a more mature Christian taking the time (often many years) to pour his or her life experiences of Jesus into a newer believer to help him or her mature in faith. This is rich, amazing and just doesn’t happen often enough. If you have this type of relationship in your life, treasure it.
While the above four views of discipleship are filled with love, care and encouragement with the aspiration to pass on knowledge, wisdom, and experience (which are all absolutely great things), none of them are focused on the intention of making disciples; disciples who will then go on to make more disciples. As Jesus had proclaimed. "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men." (Mt 4:19)
If you’ve been involved in one of these relationships or activities - ask yourself this question, “Whom have I trained to be a disciple and did they ever go on to make another disciple…who went on to make yet another disciple?” If you’re like many Christians, you’ll have trouble coming up with names, but that can all change!
Here’s what the Propel 16 Block Discipleship Program is:
And he said to them, “Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like a master of a house, who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old.” (Mt 13:52)
You can think of the Propel 16 Block Discipleship Program as a sort of boot camp training for Christians – minus the drill sergeant, running, and shaved heads. The Propel Discipleship Program is designed to establish a one-on-one relationship between two Christians with the purpose of working through basic discipleship building blocks toward the shared goal of learning to become a disciple who makes disciples. The program covers sixteen essential topics, giving you practical tasks to complete along the way. It consists of four modules, Come on Board, Learn the Ropes, Join the Crew, and Set Sail, each module building on the one before it. The final step in the program is where you "set sail" and begin to bring forth disciples. (How exciting is that?)
Another way to view the Propel program is to liken it to the process of becoming an Eagle Scout. One major Boy Scout requirement to becoming an Eagle Scout is to complete twenty-one merit badges. In a way, each of the sixteen discipleship building blocks of Propel is like one merit badge. To receive each “merit badge,” you need to learn about something (a certain Christian discipline), be able to apply it, and then train someone else to apply it as well. Upon completion of this program, you won't become an Eagle Scout, but you will become a Christian with the foundational capabilities of creating disciples of Jesus.
You could also view the Propel program liken to the process of laying the stones of the foundation for a house. In this case, there are sixteen foundational stones that need to be set properly for you to start building your house. Without each of these stones (or discipleship blocks) being properly set, your spiritual foundation will end up being a bit shaky. However, if you give care to each one, your spiritual house will be well-grounded, which will allow you to build your house up by making disciples for the progression of the kingdom of God. (And what could be greater than that!)
And that’s it?
Okay. So your saying once I complete the Propel: 16 Block Discipleship Program, I will be a fully trained disciple?
No, no you won’t, but you will be trained enough to start making disciples for Jesus Christ. At its core, that’s really what discipleship is all about. Be encouraged to know that you don’t have to know everything to start off; you just need to know the essentials. Finally, keep in mind, discipleship isn’t a program in which you check off sixteen boxes, complete the program and then you’re done; rather it’s a rich, rewarding and perpetual process that will take an entire lifetime to complete.
"Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." Matthew 28:19-20