Shepherding Ministry Venue: Discipleship
A Discipler Teaches the Sheep to Follow the Chief Shepherd:
Simply put, a disciple is a learner, a pupil. As Strong's concordance states, the word "mathetes" means "one who follows one's teaching." This is why some Bible versions will translate what is known as the Great Commission in Matthew 28:19-20 as "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations" (KJV) while others say "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations" (NIV). The same root word for disciple is used in verb form in Matthew 28:19.
The word used for the discipler in the Scripture is "didaskalos" meaning a teacher. According to Matthew 28:20, the discipler is to be "teaching them to obey everything Jesus commanded." Simply put, a discipler is to teach the sheep to follow Jesus, not himself/herself. Even when Paul told the Corinthians to follow his example, it was as he followed "the example of Christ" (1 Cor. 11:1).
This point must be grasped by anyone in a discipleship ministry. Too often this kind of shepherding has come under scrutiny because a discipler did not understand his role and became too much of an authority in the person's life.
What Disciplers Need to Remember to Keep the Focus on the Chief Shepherd:
Authority belongs to and comes from Christ through His Word.
Being true to the original language, a discipler is a teacher.
To seek to make people followers of ourselves or anyone else but Christ is to bring nothing but trouble.
In discipling others, we are therefore not asking people to commit to a program or to another person but to Jesus Christ.
In addition to this content, the Shepherding Ministry Manual briefly expounds on each of the above points. It also includes a page with questions to help you further reflect on and evaluate your discipleship practices.