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A Simple Recipe for Making Disciples

Lorna Johnston /Wednesday, December 14, 2022


When I have a bit of extra time, I enjoy cooking. I especially enjoy cooking for other people, and I particularly love trying new recipes. It’s a bit risky trying new recipes out on guests, but I do it all the time!

Some recipes are complex and take a long time—sometimes the reward is worth the effort, sometimes not. I have a recipe for Petit Fours (a fancy little dessert cake) that takes most of a day to make but is a favorite of some of my family—so worth the investment.

But some recipes surprise me with how simple and delicious they are. Try this one – watermelon chunks, lime juice, chopped fresh mint. For a summer side salad, it’s amazing.

Sometimes when we talk about disciple-making we tend to think ‘Petit Four recipe’ complexity rather than ‘Watermelon Salad recipe’ simplicity. And then we let the thought of the complexity put us off even trying to be involved in disciple-making.

What if we could simplify our ‘disciple-making recipe’ down to just a few ingredients? How would that change your approach to obeying Jesus’ instructions to us all to make disciples (Matthew 28:18-20)?

A Simple Recipe

Here’s a ‘simple recipe’ for you to try out:

1. Pray

Ask God to show you the people in your community – your neighbourhood, your workplace, your school – who are hungry to take a step closer to God. God is already at work in our community and in people’s lives, and we can join what God is already doing. Use this ‘ingredient’ liberally as you ask God to show you what he’s doing.

2. Make space

Making disciples is not a 6-week event, but rather a relationship journey. How can you build in more margin for people time? Is your schedule interruptible? What can you stop doing, so you have time for the people God brings to you?

3. Love

People come to relationship with a story. Love listens well and enters into the story. Love is a verb—an action—not an emotion. Jesus described what love looks like in Matthew 25:34-36:

Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world, for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’ 

I might add, "I was a single-mother, and you encouraged me and helped me with my kids", "I was a refugee, and you became my friend", "I was lonely, and you had me over for dinner".

3 More Ingredients

The next three ‘ingredients’ are for those who you discover are really hungry to explore who God is.

4. Get into Scripture

Don’t worry about knowing ‘enough’. Let scripture be the teacher. Start with the words of Jesus Christ and go from there. Let the Holy Spirit bring it to life. Ask these questions: "What does it say?" and "What does it mean?"

5. Obedience

This is the ‘secret sauce’ that is often missed. Ask the question: "How will I live differently because of what I’ve learned today?’"and grow together in learning to walk in new ways.

6. Pass it on

Invite those you are discipling to disciple others in their community. Ask the question: "Who else would find these words of Jesus good news?" Encourage them to share what they’ve learned with others, so that those who are disciples become disciple-makers and the ‘secret recipe’ gets passed along.

Next Steps

If you’re ready to try your hand at this simple recipe I encourage you to connect with others who are also testing it out. There are ‘cooks’ all over the world who have tested this recipe and are happy to help you get into the kitchen too!

Lorna Johnston is the Diaspora Ministries Leader at Outreach Canada. She leads two national teams--Loving Muslims Together (LMT) and Simply Mobilizing Canada (SMC). She works with teams of diverse and experienced leaders and ministries across Canada to alert and activate the church in Canada to the changing opportunities to engage God's mission right here in Canada.


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