To be used of God to make disciples, we must be willing to pay the price… and it is a costly ministry.
Costly in Quantity of Time. We must be constantly on call. It takes time to drive to a restaurant to eat a meal with the person we are training, it takes time to go on a trip with that trainee, and it takes time to do other things that will make reproducing disciple of him. Moses prayed, “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom” (Ps. 90:12 KJV). Our time will not be our own. We must be available to those whom God has called us to help.
Costly in Lack of Recognition. Paul said, “Yet we urge you to have more and more of this love, and to make it your ambition to have no ambition! Be busy with your own affairs and do your work yourselves. The result will be a reputation for honesty in the world outside and an honorable independence” (1 Thess. 4:11‐12 PHILLIPS). The ministry of follow up and assimilation is not the kind that gets wide publicity in the church paper. Neither is there a place to check it on our offering envelopes. Although this is rapidly changing, discipling has traditionally been an unrecognized work in the kingdom of God.
Costly in Inconvenience. We are servants of those we intend to help. Jesus said, “I am among you as one who serves” (Luke 22:27). We must meet the needs of those God has chosen for us to help. And this means leaving the TV set during a Dallas‐ Los Angeles playoff game, with the score tied and only a few minutes to play, when a call for help has come from the person I am training. We meet these needs on God’s terms, not ours. We are servants to the body of Christ.
Costly in Hurt. At times we will be hurt by those we are trying to help. On this subject Paul wrote, “And I will very gladly spend and be spent for you; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I be loved” (2 Cor. 12:15 KJV). In the same letter he added, “I pray that you will live good lives, not because that will be a feather in our caps, proving that what we teach is right; no, for we want you to do right even if we ourselves are despised” (2 Cor. 13:7 LB). Paul was willing to suffer the cost of being despised if the hurt would help the Corinthians. He went on, “We are glad to be weak and despised if you are really strong. Our greatest wish and prayer is that you will become mature Christians” (2 Cor. 13:9 LB). Some in whom you have invested your life will turn their backs on you and walk away. Others may even become bitter toward you. Still others will go only so far in the school of discipleship and no further. All of these will hurt you. You must not become discouraged in our calling, for some of those who fall by the wayside will eventually come back and want to get back on the path. Others are certainly better off for the help they have received than if they had received none at all.
– From “Making Disciples,” Gene Warr. Used by permission of the author.