As someone who lives and breathes mentoring, I always light up when I find a Scripture about disciple-making. One time, I was reading through the book of Matthew and as I neared the end, I knew I was about to read the Great Commission. I’ve quoted it forever, but this time I was reading The Message paraphrase by Eugene Peterson and found words I didn’t expect . . .
“Jesus, undeterred, went right ahead and gave his charge: ‘God authorized and commanded me to commission you: Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life, marking them by baptism in the threefold name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you. I’ll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age.’” (Matthew 28:19-20, The Message)
Train everyone in ‘this way of life.’ The way of life Jesus taught and modeled.
But what does that mean, right now, in the real world? Here’s what ‘this way of life’ means to me personally . . .
- God is at the center of everything. The constant thought is “Thank you God.” “Thank you for loving me, for saving me, for adopting me into your family.” “Thank you for being with me, no matter what.”
- Don’t worry. Whatever is coming my way, whatever is in my future will come through God’s hand. If He’s not causing it, He’s allowing it. So I’m leaning into the future, trusting that God loves me, that He is good and that He’ll be accessible to me as I go through whatever.
- Be grateful for money, but never forget it all comes from Him. I can’t spend a single dollar in the dark. He knows what I spend His money for, so I’m challenged to be careful what I spend and why I’m spending it.
- The first place I’m to “train . . . in this way of life” is at home. Teaching and modeling the humility, selflessness and character of Jesus is my responsibility. Before Mom, before church, school, Boy Scouts, whatever . . . it’s Dad’s job to make disciples of his kids. To teach them ‘this way of life’ by living it as consistently as possible since values are caught more than taught. And to teach them the principles of God as God shows them uniquely to him.
- Live your life for others. The Father and other people were everything to Jesus. He taught and modeled total selflessness.
“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” (Matthew 22:37-39)
“Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.” (Matthew 25:45)
That’s what ‘this way of life’ means to me. Don’t get me wrong . . . I don’t live it out all the time. Far from it.
But ‘this way of life’ is what I want for me and my wife. It’s what I want for my kids and my grandkids. And it’s what I want for my mentees and their families. It’s what I want for everyone. It’s the best life possible. It’s incomparable.
Figuring out ‘this way of life’ is something everyone has to come to for himself. It would be pretty hard to argue against what I shared above since it’s straight from Scripture. But everyone has to seek God on their own, listen to His voice and fulfill His unique vision for their lives.
And the how questions are as plentiful as cars on the freeway. Family devotions? Family constitutions? Homeschooling? Mission trips? Serving in the church? Parachurch ministry? Leading a Radical Mentoring group? Everyone gets to figure out their own strategy for living and teaching ‘this way of life.’
So decide what ‘this way of life’ means for you. Write it down. Think about it. Pray over it. Talk to your wife about it. Commit yourself to it.
Then decide what you’ll do to teach it to others, starting with your family and moving out from there.
And then do it.
And if you need a jumpstart on some strategies for this, consider joining us on Nov 9-10 at the 2017 National Disciple Making Forum in Nashville, TN. It will teach you how to be a disciple-maker in any aspect of life . . . from church leadership, to parenting, to working in men’s ministry. I’ll be leading the Men’s Ministry track and our whole team will be there as well. You can receive 20% off tickets using the code MENTORLIKEJESUS (More info here).
Scripture: Jesus, undeterred, went right ahead and gave his charge: “God authorized and commanded me to commission you: Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life, marking them by baptism in the threefold name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you. I’ll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20, The Message)
Mentor Tip: Share with your mentees what ‘this way of life’ means to you and challenge them to explore what it means for them. You can offer your input but mostly make sure you’re living it out consistently in front of them and being transparent about the times and ways that it’s hard for you.