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Discipling - It's As Easy As 1,2,3

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By Jim Wiegand

I was born into the world of the automobile factories of Detroit Michigan and have seen first-hand how an assembly line works by taking parts that progress down the line until a mile or so later, after all the parts are added, a car rolls off the line.

Each car, identical to the last. This is a great way to manufacture an automobile! Matthew 28:19-20 tells us to “go into all the world and make disciples” and for anyone who has made an effort to obey that command, you will understand right away that there is a vast difference between building a car and building a young person into a disciple of Christ. God made each of us to be different from all the others and that makes the process unique and personal every time. I can’t imagine how slow the assembly line would have to move if the raw materials of each car had to be discovered, refined, and released as a unique creation. Whether you are building a car or a kid, the one thing these two endeavors have in common is they both require a plan if they are to succeed. So what is the plan to build young people into one of a kind followers of Jesus? In our ministry, we use a system that’s as easy as 1,2,3.

One Triangle + Two Questions + Three Circles = Discipleship

One Triangle: Much effort has gone into methods to draw this generation into a setting where they can be ministered to and rightly so, but for a moment I want you to think of the number we minister to as the top of a triangle. It’s a good thing to measure but it’s far from the most important indicator of long term success. There is a reason why the pyramids of Egypt have stood for thousands of years with no maintenance required whereas the Washington monument is rarely seen without scaffolding attached to it. The lesson of the triangle is this. The base of the triangle predetermines the stable height. That stability does not come from those we minister to (top of the triangle) but from the ministry we have for who participate (the base). In other words, those who create ministry for this generation at the base decide how much ministry there is for those who attend. Think of it this way, if you have ministry for 10 young people, you will soon have 10 young people. This is true if you grow from 5-10 or constrict from 20-10. The reason you grew and the reason you shrank is because of the ministry that was or wasn’t there for those who attended. If we get our leaders to value the measurement of the base to be the success we work for, we would see a lot more of the height we desire. Because the base is the most important measurement we can value in our triangle, the question becomes, how do we build the base? That leads us to two questions.

Two Questions: There are questions that matter regardless of how old a person is. Here are two good ones to get started.

  1. What did God save you from? People are confident in only one thing and that’s their own story. No one else knows it the way they do. Asking people their story is a fantastic way to hear what God has brought them out of and it glorifies the Lord. If they can answer the first question, then move quickly to the second.
  2. What do you think God saved you for? For every “out of” there is an “into” in Christ. Out of darkness/into marvelous light. Out of Egypt/Into the promised land. Out of death/Into life. If God simply wanted to get people to heaven, they’d believe and be gone, but this isn’t the case.

If we can get this generation talking about these two questions, one of two things will happen. We will find they don’t yet know Jesus and have the opportunity to lead them to Him or we will hear a person’s testimony and then their dreams of what Jesus created them to be. If they know what God saved them for it is up to you to be the gift of God put in their lives to “prepare them for works of service” (Ephesians 4:11-12), or if they don’t know the answer to that question you can move them to three circles.

Three Circles: Ephesians 2:10 says “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works that God prepared in advance for us to do”. In other words, God created everyone for a reason. In other words, there was something that needed to be done so God created people to do those very things. In order to help people discover what those things might be, draw three circles like an Olympic flag with two circles on top and one on the bottom all overlapping with a spot in the middle of all three. Now ask the three questions.

  1. What’s your passion? What thrills you?
  2. What’s your pain? What kills you?
  3. What’s your proficiency? What fills you?

Again, people like to talk about themselves and as they do a picture will emerge that in time can become a direction for the trajectory of their lives. As you fill in those three circles, it’s been my experience that a light can come on and a focus can be birthed. You might be surprised at the number of young people who can answer those questions but have never connected the dots to create the picture of their purpose. This generation is a treasure hunt waiting for you to grab a shovel and help them uncover why God created them! A bulletin announcement stating the needs of a ministry pales in comparison to what can happen when the right questions are asked and we listen to the hearts of our young people.

By using this simple 1,2,3 process you will get to know the people God has sent as laborers into the fields of your community. By helping them discover who God made them to be and then releasing them to serve well you will see the gaps begin to fill with people who believe they were created to serve with their gifts for such a time as this.

Last thought. Try to name five sermons, lectures, talks, etc. that have changed your life. Most people can’t. Words like food add up over time and are good for us to consume but it’s hard to name what we ate for lunch a week ago that changed us today. Now, name five people that have changed your life. Everyone can! What does this mean? It means it was never the subject at school that changed our lives, it was the teacher. It was never the lessons of our parents, it was the relationship with them that formed our hearts. It was never the pastor’s sermons as much as it was the pastor who cared for us and we knew it. Look at this generation and engage them in their pursuit of purpose and in time you will be placed on the list of the “five people who changed my life”.

For more on this topic, grab a free copy of my e-book, “From Recruiting to Releasing” by Jim Wiegand by clicking this link:

https://books.apple.com/us/book/recruiting-to-releasing/id1566022334

Or, if I can help you further, send me an email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and we can continue the conversation.

It’s as easy as one, two, three.

Jim Wiegand is a husband, father, grandfather and serves as the Lead Pastor of Freedom Center Church in Fenton Michigan for the past 26 years. He has authored four books and is a frequent conference speaker, podcast guest, and blog writer. You can connect with Jim at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

 

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