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Make Disciple Makers, Not Just Disciples

I know, I know that Jesus said, “Go and make disciples,” not “Go and make disciple makers,” but I believe that a disciple is a disciple maker. Here is why this is an important distinction followed up with why I believe Jesus intended us to not just make disciples but to make disciple makers.

Why this distinction is important

It is important because if I disciple someone, I get 2 generations. One and done. The process is an end unto itself. But if I disciple someone with the same methods that Jesus used with his 12, then what you get at the end of that process is not just a disciple but a disciple maker. This is someone who is both following Jesus and helping others to do the same.

If you make a disciple maker, you will always get a disciple. If you set out to make a disciple, you might not make a disciple maker. Making a disciple maker allows the process to multiply and expand to multiple generations. This increases the impact of our efforts.


“If you make a disciple maker, you will always get a disciple.”


Why I believe Jesus intended us to make disciple makers

First, because this is what Jesus did himself. He trained his followers intentionally for them to have a reproducible process that would work with new people. Jesus didn’t train them to be dependent on him. Jesus trained them to be reliant on the Holy Spirit in his absence. So when the apostles/disciples started planting churches and making disciples, they could do this in a place (presumably through some of the same methods Jesus used with them) so that they would not foster dependence on the apostles but instead reliance on the Spirit.

Second, the Great Commission results in making disciple makers. Jesus said that when you make a disciple, you teach them to obey everything Jesus commanded. That includes the command to make disciples. By default you aren’t just making a disciple who has no idea how to make more disciples. Instead, Jesus modeled an approach that we model for others so that they too can be trained to change lives.

Jesus did not train his followers to only care about themselves and Jesus, but to be about other people as well. The original discipleship model wasn’t just about them getting close to Jesus and becoming more like Jesus. It was also done to help them continue that process on to future generations, who would then carry it on over and over again.


“Jesus said that when you make a disciple, you teach them to obey everything Jesus commanded.”


Implications in Practice

When you think about how you would disciple someone, it is important to have in mind some sort of path. Life always throws us curve balls, so we can’t stick rigidly to the path. But a well-thought, well-prayed-through path that is influenced by the discipling ministry of Jesus is a good start.

  • Are you doing things with simplicity so that they are catchable by those you disciple?
  • Are you doing things in a way that can be learned and reproduced with others long after you are gone?
  • Is your approach one that the people you work with can see what you do and imitate it with new people?

Or are you discipling in a way that fosters dependence, is complicated, has no discernible path, and is basically unrepeatable (maybe even by you!)?

Let us not just make disciples but make disciple makers.

From MattDabbs.com. Used with permission.

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Want fresh teachings and disciple making content? Sign up to receive a weekly newsletters highlighting our resources and new content to help equip you in your disciple making journey. We’ll also send you emails with other equipping resources from time to time.

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