How Jesus launched a disciplemaking movement

Sometimes leaders try to start movements of discipleship by casting vision to the masses.

However, Jesus did not follow this leadership practice when he started his disciplemaking movement that is changing the world to this day. When it came to making disciples who would make more disciples who would make more disciples, Jesus didn’t cast a discipleship vision to the masses.

How Jesus began his movement

He prayed. Luke 6:12

He chose a small cadre of people. Mark 3:13-15

He invested lots of time with them. John 3:22

He considered them friends. John 15:15

He gave them his disciplemaking way of life and showed them how to give it to others in the same way he gave it to them—and they did. Matthew 28:18-20

A different approach

Jesus didn’t change the world by growing a tree and then trying to putting a root system under it. Jesus changed the world—and continues to change the world today—through disciplemakers. Ones who prayerfully choose a cadre of people for the purpose of helping them help others to follow Jesus.

We think of Jesus’ roots-first approach as “D3” disciplemaking friendships. Of course, Jesus’ roots-first approach takes much more time and work. It doesn’t feel leadership-sexy. But stop and think about it.

Never before have we had so much ministry activity and so little Jesus-like disciplemaking.

Isn’t it time to make Jesus our model for life and ministry?

We tend to overestimate what preaching can do and underestimate what living like Jesus can do. You can’t vision-cast the masses into a disciplemaking way of life.

Haver: A whole new level of friendship

Haver is a word we Cadre missionaries love to use. It helps us understand how God designed us to live as disciples together. Here’s some background on where “haver” comes from.

Haver (ha· ver) is a Hebrew word that means friend; comrade; companion. It’s the practice of grappling in twos or threes over Scripture and talking about how to live it out together. In the First Century, both men and women wrestled together in disciplemaking friendships. The female version of the word is haverah.

Learning together

A havruta, or what we call a disciplemaking learning community, supports these friendships. This was the standard learning style for teaching 12-17-year-old students in villages like Capernaum, where Jesus lived after Nazareth. Adults in the community were welcomed to join students in the bet midrash, or house of learning, whenever their jobs or life allowed them the freedom.

havering

Get yourself a haver

Finally, the plural is haverim (ha· ver· im): learning as friends, together. It’s a learning method where teachers pass on faith instruction to groups of 2-5 students. Together, they wrestle the content as friends for both understanding and application in life, together.

The ideal way to support a disciplemaking lifestyle is through friendships (haver) linked in a disciplemaking learning community.

Lois Tverberg describes it well in Sitting At The Feet of Rabbi Jesus: “Pairs or small groups grapple together aloud over a text, earnest in their desire to dig deeper. This tradition is ancient – a rabbinic comment was made before Jesus’ time that you should ‘get yourself a haver,’ a study partner.” (Tverberg’s books and blog are a great source for understanding the cultural context of Jesus’ life and teaching.)

 

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Want to further explore the concept of haver? Grab a friend and wrestle these passages together:

Ecclesiastes 4:12

Proverbs 12:26

Proverbs 17:17

Proverbs 18:24

Proverbs 27:6

Proverbs 27:10

John 15:13, 15

 

The “No Sweat” Spiritual Workout

 

The secret to the “NO SWEAT” Workout: Time passes but no growth happens.

I’ve discovered the secret to “NO SWEAT” Disciplemaking: Time passes but no real growth happens.

In the New Testament model of life together we’re all believer priests… and in a priesthood of all believers—we’re all gifted, all called, all chosen and all working out together where the church is a gym, and pastors/youth workers are our workout trainers… [our trainers who are of course working out just as hard right besides us—1 Thess. 5:12-13.]

Just like the commercials that follow… YOU GOTTA BE SWEATING TO GET IT!

And we all need to SWEAT disciplemaking, not programs. We sweat disciplemaking friendships. Rich mutual community and one anothering are at the heart of the workout.

In the words of Inigo Montoya, TO THE PAIN!

TODAY’S WORKOUT:

Core Exercise #1: Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.
Core Exercise #2: I am fully convinced, my dear brothers and sisters, that you are full of goodness. You know these things so well you can teach each other all about them.
Core Exercise #3: Then, by the will of God, I will be able to come to you with a joyful heart, and we will be an encouragement to each other.
Core Exercise #4: A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other.
Core Exercise #5: So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.
Remember: No Sweat, No Get!