What Does it Mean to Make Disciples?


Did you know that you’re called to make disciples? What does it mean to make disciples, and how do you do it?


Sounds like a huge task, doesn’t it? 


Now, imagine you’re one of the apostles standing before Jesus after He’s risen from the dead and gives you this mission: “Go and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:18-19). 


Facing this huge, important task, they didn’t ask, “What does it mean to make disciples?”


How come? 


Like any hard task, it helps to have a model. I got pretty good at throwing a football because of my dad. A quarterback himself, he molded my fingers to the laces, guided my hands to where I should hold it and showed me how to throw with a quick release and a strong spiral. 


I didn’t have to learn from a set of instructions. It had already been shown to me.


That’s the beautiful thing about Jesus giving this mission to His disciples at this point in the story. When He first met them, they’d have no idea what to do. But Jesus had intentionally showed them exactly how to make disciples with His perfect example throughout His ministry. 


Jesus had already modeled it for them—and He’s modeled it for you, too!



What Does it Mean to Make Disciples?


1. Share the Good News.

Jesus told his disciples about a different kind of Kingdom. Each of his disciples followed Him because they understood He was offering them something new. No longer were they waiting for a Messiah. No longer were they playing the rule-following religious thought of the self-righteous Pharisees. 


Jesus showed them they didn’t have to be perfect or act perfect in this Kingdom. In fact, what the culture calls weakness was strength. And that life, through Jesus, was eternal. That is the good news that you received, beginning your discipleship. And that is the good news Jesus wants us to share with others.



2. Jesus showed the Word.

As John the Baptist proclaimed, Jesus didn’t need to get baptized before going forth and starting His ministry. “I need to be baptized by you, and you come to me?”  


But he was showing us how new believers who have received the word are to be baptized to symbolize their new life in Christ. In Matthew 28, after telling his followers to make disciples, He includes “baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” 


Beyond the act of baptism, Jesus wants us to have real relationships with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Throughout scripture, Jesus spoke to the Father and showed us what it meant to live with the Holy Spirit inside of us.


What does it mean to make disciples and show them the word? We go through life with them as true friends, show them how to speak to our Heavenly Father through prayer, and live with Holy Spirit inside of us—by “being rooted and grounded in love” (Ephesians 3:17) and spending time alone with God.



3. Jesus showed his disciples how to teach the Word.

At certain points throughout the gospels, Jesus tells a parable to the crowd and only reveals its meaning to His disciples. It wasn’t because Jesus wanted to make the interpretation exclusive. Instead, he knew some people listening would reject anything for their own personal reasons. Consider the rich young man who could not sell everything he owned to begin his discipleship and follow Jesus. 


The disciples on the other hand were all open to Jesus’ message, so He teaches it to them. In the same way, by spending time with Jesus and His Word, we can learn how to teach it to new disciples. 



4. Jesus modeled the servant attitude.

The night before Jesus was crucified, He got down and served the disciples by washing their feet. He was showing us that discipleship is always about serving. We must remember that God has put us there to serve their needs, as physical as their dirty feet and as spiritual as their eternal salvation.



Jesus Painted the Picture for Making Disciples

So, what does it mean to make disciples? Jesus gave us a clear picture. But He also gave us an important promise.

He assures us, “I am always with you to the end of the age.”



Build Deeper Friendship with MenHuddle.

If you’re looking to deepen friendship and mutual mentoring, check out the LEVEL 5 FRIENDSHIP PLAYBOOK—a guide that will help you connect with other men in a meaningful way and catalyze spiritual growth in each other’s lives.

Tips for Unlocking Spiritual Growth


From a young age, the world tells us men that we have to keep growing to earn our manhood—our muscles, our bank account, our dating history. Other, smarter voices tell us to grow our character and become better husbands, fathers, and friends. But without learning how to grow spiritually, all this important work is unsustainable. 


Spiritual growth is the act of inviting Jesus into your life and becoming more like Him. Recently, I wrote about the journey of spiritual transformation that men need. Today, though, I want to provide practical tips on how to grow spiritually. 


Because far too often, people talk about it in nebulous terms when, really, it should be the most concrete thing in your life. So, here are 15 tips for unlocking spiritual growth in men, broken out into three major categories.


Invite Spiritual Growth Into Your Life.

Even though I grew up in a Christian household, I remember when I truly decided to live for God. It came at the end of college when I thought I had everything I wanted—friends, girlfriends, and a shot at an NFL career. Still, I was insecure and unhappy. Thankfully, God was tracking me down. Suddenly, making my purpose to live for him made a whole lot of sense. If you haven’t yet started your journey of spiritual growth, I encourage you to begin immediately.

  1. Clear away any previous conceptions that you have of God, and let Him show you who He really is. 
  2. Tell Jesus you believe He is the Son of God. 
  3. Thank Him for dying for your sins and ask Him to fill you with the Holy Spirit.
  4. Commit to following Him for the rest of your life.
  5. Find a local community of believers to join.


Receive From God.

Once you’ve accepted Christ into your life, you can grow spiritually by receiving from God. Receiving might sound like a passive thing, but it’s not. I like to compare it to making a reception in football. I got to play with legends like Jerry Rice and Steve Largent. They both tirelessly practiced eying the ball with great focus, snagging and tucking it away with a vice grip so no one could knock it loose. It’s the same way you should approach your receiving.

  1. Be intentional. Set up a private space to be with God and receive your identity as His son
  2. Study Jesus’s life and apply His relationship with the Father to your own.
  3. Write down your questions, fears and struggles. Expect to see His answer and healing eventually.
  4. Pray from Jesus’ pattern of prayer (Matthew 6:9-13) and ask Him who you should pray for.
  5. Thank Him for everything He’s given you. 


Bring God Into Your Daily Life and Relationships. 

Even though we need to spend time alone with God, spiritual growth in men is not a private thing. Use the power of a team to catalyze spiritual growth by bringing Him into every moment of the day and inviting Him to change your relationships. This is where you really start to see the fruits of your progress. You might find that you have more patience, grace, and forgiveness.   

  1. Pause and pray spontaneously throughout the day, alone or with someone if they’re open or need it. 
  2. Find someone who has been where you are now to mentor you in your spiritual journey. 
  3. Make a commitment to a friend or a few close friends to meet every week and help each other become more like Christ. 
  4. Serve your wife and children the way Jesus served his disciples. When you focus on what you can give instead of want you need, you’ll be amazed at the joy and depth it will bring to your life.
  5. Give back by sharing your journey of spiritual growth with others. 


Spiritual growth in men is not just possible—it’s what God asks from us. The good news? No one is perfect. But Jesus is, and He’ll be with you every step of the way.


Build Deeper Friendship with MenHuddle.

If you’re looking to deepen friendship and mutual mentoring, check out the PLAYBOOK FOR LEVEL 5 FRIENDSHIP—a guide that will help you connect with other men in a meaningful way and catalyze spiritual growth in each other’s lives.