Five men. Those two words are how I usually start my testimony of God’s grace in my life. Why? Because there are five men that God placed in my life at various times that have been instrumental in becoming the man I am today. I believe their lives hold the keys to how we can start disciple-making today.
Question: Who is your Timothy?
These five men are different from one another; they have unique personalities, different backgrounds, different strengths and weaknesses, and so on. What they all have in common and what’s so important to me is that they were all older than me, wiser than me, more spiritually mature than me—and spent time building into my life.
In short, Jesus called and changed all these men, and in turn, they showed me the value, worth, and how-to of following Jesus Christ. Imagine living like these five men—in your home as a dad and in your church as a leader.
The time, energy, and effort these men put into discipling me is something I do not take for granted. It leads me to praise God for the good work he’s done in my life through these men. It’s funny though how quickly life can get in the way and stop people from doing the vital work of discipleship.
I heard a testimony from a pastor where he shared about getting to interview the guy who discipled him decades later. He was able to ask him questions, share with him about the impact this man had on his life and ministry, and then he asked the final question of what his discipleship looks like now. The man’s face fell as he admitted that the discipleship of younger men was not something he had done in years. It was a slow drift away that ended up taking him away from the impactful ministry he had when he started as a pastor.
If you are an older man who has been following Jesus Christ for decades, there are men in your church, younger men, less mature men, less experienced men, who need to hear from you. God has given you these opportunities to start disciple-making today in your life and church, so I want to encourage you not to neglect the important work of passing on the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ to the generations behind you.
One reason the Apostle Paul was so confident in ministry was that he had a team of younger men who he discipled. He was leaving them behind, when he went to be with the Lord, to continue leading the church and discipling the next generation too, “And what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also” (2 Timothy 2:2).
Here are three reasons to should ‘Find Your Timothy’ and start discipling today:
#1 Jesus makes discipleship a lifelong calling
Matthew 28:19-20 is our call to discipleship, it’s that last part “to the end of the age” that is so important.
Not only does Jesus expect the church to be making disciples until the last day, it is expected that each person makes disciples until the end of our days.
There is no upper age limit to effective discipleship.
In fact, you can make a strong case that as you are transformed more and more into the image of Christ over your lifetime, the years you have can make you even more qualified to disciple.
#2 Younger men need it
There are younger men in your church going through all sorts of life circumstances that you have already experienced, and you have things you have learned and the ways you have seen God’s faithfulness.
There are men in your church who need to know what it looks like to start disciple-making today in the workplace, in the home, at church and in the community.
We can point younger men to Scripture and tell them what the Bible says, or we can tell them and then come alongside them to show them what it means to…
- work at something with all their heart for the Lord and not for others,
- sacrificially love their wife as Christ loved the church,
- raise their children in the discipline and instruction of the Lord,
- live self-controlled lives,
- be a cheerful giver,
- and disciple others.
#3 Modeling is the greatest teacher
An oft-repeated phrase I hear from older men when they are challenged to disciple is that they don’t have much to offer, or they don’t have all the answers or they don’t know what to do when they meet with someone younger.
If you have been following Jesus and maturing in your faith, then you just need to sit down with someone for coffee, tell them about your life, make much of Jesus, and let them see you live your life. We recognize that modeling was an essential part of the ministries of Jesus, “As I have loved you, so you must love one another” (John 13:34) and the Apostle Paul, “You, however, have followed my teaching, my conduct, my aim in life, my faith, my patience, my love, my steadfastness, my persecutions and sufferings…” (2 Timothy 3:10-11).
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