Discipleship Tip From Lee

Learn to Focus on ‘the Few’

When you minister, remember: Don’t be so fascinated by a crowd. The crowd is great, but probably your biggest assignment is mentoring the person or small group of disciples you brought with you. Invest in them, pray with them and let them see Jesus in you. They will learn from your example.

Be proactive about taking a disciple with you when you minister. Whether you are traveling to preach, going to pray at the hospital, doing an outreach or counseling someone. Jesus always performed His miracles in front of His disciples so they could see. Ministry is not about you! Look for opportunities to include others as you do the work of ministry.


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You Must Be Broken to Impact Others

When Jesus fed the crowd of 5,000 in Mark 6:33-44, He did four things. 1) He took the bread and the fish, 2) He blessed the food, 3) He broke the food and 4) He gave the food to the multitude (see verse 41). This is how God works with us. He takes us, He blesses us, He breaks us and then He shares His life through us.

If you want to be used by God, you cannot skip the third step. We love to be blessed, but few of us want to be broken. But if you have not been broken you cannot reach your full potential. Your influence will be determined by how much you allow the brokenness of God in your life. God uses trials and difficulties to form your character. Embrace your trials and let God shape you. Submit to His dealings. In the end, your life will touch a multitude.

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Reset Your “GPS” for a New Year

Each new year I do an exercise called “resetting my GPS.” This could help you!

*** “G” stands for “goals.” Setting goals helps you move forward. What do you want God to do through you in 2018? Write down your faith goals. Be specific.

*** “P” stands for “prophetic word.” I always ask God what He is saying to me for the next year. Sometimes He gives a Scripture; other times it’s a word or phrase. This year He gave me the word “ADVANCE,” with instructions to study Deuteronomy 8 and the book of Joshua.

*** “S” stands for “special prayer.” I set aside 1-3 days to saturate my year in prayer. I will unplug my phone and fast for a few days this week. I’ll make a list of specific needs, and then I will pray about all those items during my break. I hope you can reset your GPS for 2018!


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Confidentiality Is Vital in Discipleship

Your disciples may need to open their hearts to confess ugly, embarrassing sins. They need to do this to find true healing. James 5:16 says we can’t be healed until we confess our sins to one another. If your disciple has a deep addiction, confession is necessary for freedom!

But you must be 100% committed to confidentiality. When your disciple bares his soul to you, cover his sins with the blood of Jesus and NEVER tell others what he said. 1 Peter 4:8 says: “Love covers a multitude of sins.” You are betraying your disciple if you tell others about his private confession. Unless he confesses to child sexual abuse or murder (which you are required by law to report to the police) his confession is between you and him. Your disciple needs a “safe place” to heal. Don’t disrespect him by sharing private information.


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You Must Learn to ‘Chew’ the Bible

One of the best ways to study the Bible is to read one book at a time (such as Romans or Isaiah) and slowly “chew” on each verse. The biblical word “meditate” means “to chew,” as a cow chews its cud over and over. The more you read a passage, the more “juice” you squeeze out of it!

Another great method is a word study. You can pick a biblical word such as heaven, hell, salvation, mercy, Holy Spirit, doubt, healing or justice. Any word! Then use Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance (it’s online at eliyah. com) to read all the verses in which the word appears. You can also see the original Hebrew or Greek meaning of the word. Doing a word study will soak your mind with God’s truth concerning a topic you need to understand. Joshua 1:8 promises if you meditate on His Word every day, you will be successful. Try it! ”


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Make God’s Word Your Priority

By definition, a disciple is a “student.” You can’t be a true disciple if you don’t study God’s Word. And studying is not the same as casual reading. If you want to grow to maturity, you must dig in the Word as if you were mining for gold.

When I study, I read a Bible passage numerous times. I ponder every word, as if I were looking at each sentence with a magnifying glass. I write down my impressions. Then sometimes I look up the verse in my Strong’s Concordance and write down the Greek or Hebrew definitions. During this process the Holy Spirit shines His light on the Word and I receive divine revelation. Proverbs 3:13-15 says that finding wisdom from God is better than finding precious jewels. If you dig diligently in the Bible you will find priceless treasure!


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How Many Disciples Can You Mentor?

I’m often asked how many disciples one person can mentor. I believe you can mentor people at various levels. Jesus called 12 men to follow Him closely, and He discipled a group of women (Luke 8:1-3). He also trained a group of 70 in ministry (Luke 10:1), and He preached to crowds. But Jesus invested more time in three followers (Peter, James and John) and John seemed to have the deepest revelation of the Savior because He had such close access to Him.

Jesus did not invest the same amount of time in everyone. He influenced people on different levels, but He focused on the few. Don’t spread yourself too thin. There is no set number of disciples you can mentor. But regardless of how many people you influence, make sure you invest your most quality time in the “Johns” whom God has put closest to you.


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Stay Connected to Your Disciple!

This week I spent several hours with my mentor Barry, who started discipling me in 1973 when I was a teenager. That was 44 years ago and we are still very close. During all those years Barry has been available for counsel, and he still prays for me and encourages me.

How long should you disciple someone? I never view discipleship as a short-term assignment. I want to stay connected to those I mentor for a lifetime! I’ve learned that relationships stay vibrant as long as I nourish them with regular communication. As your disciple matures you will relate to each other differently. But never assume that your job is done; don’t “drop” people out of your life. Even after Paul had fully trained Timothy, and Paul knew he would die soon, he urged Timothy: “Make every effort to come to me soon” (2 Tim. 4:9). Keep the bonds strong and develop lifelong relationships!



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Help Your Disciples Get Free!

When Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, he walked out of the tomb–but he was still wrapped in grave clothes. Jesus then said to those standing near: “Unbind him, and let him go” (John 11:44). This is a mentor’s job! Part of discipleship involves setting your disciples free from the things that hinder their spiritual growth.

When I disciple a person I take them through a process of inner cleansing. We discuss their past and I ask about seven key areas: 1) unforgiveness; 2) sexual sin; 3) addictions; 4) occult involvement or false religions; 5) abuse; 6) father or mother wounds; and 7) fears and anxieties. I ask them to confess their past sins or hangups, then we pray for healing. I also remind them of the power of Christ’s blood to set them free from sin and shame. Don’t let your disciples hobble around in grave clothes. Unbind them!

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Don’t Rush the Character-Building Process

God shapes leaders by hand, and this is a slow, tedious process. He sent Moses to the wilderness to form his character, and Moses endured years of labor, trials and disappointments. But it was in the wilderness that Moses saw the burning bush and heard God’s calling. His spiritual roots went deep in those dry times. His leadership gifts were forged in the fires of testing.

I endured seasons of hardship before every promotion in my life. I worked really hard, I felt lonely and unappreciated, and I worked for bosses who were difficult. But the fire prepared me for the ministry work I do now. 1 Peter 5:6 says: “Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that you may be exalted at the proper time.” Don’t try to exalt yourself. Don’t try to rush through the character-building process. Don’t avoid the fire or look for shortcuts. Surrender fully to God and let Him chisel you into His man.

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