After discipling for many years I’ve always loved the models of 3 people from the Bible: The prophet Elijah, the apostle Paul, and of course, Jesus. I want to know what they did right and analyse how that would translate into my world of discipling today.
As a young christian in charge of a home fellowship group (cell group in the 80’s), I wanted to be the best I could be for the sake of my young rag-tag group of seekers and new christians. I had a few ‘inviters’ (people who were amazing at inviting new people) in the group. And so the group grew exponentially. It was also soon filled with all sorts of problems. And I was the leader.
I sought the advice of my home fellowship pastor and he was an amazing help. But there were no books, no articles, no expert to help us. … I had to learn from God’s Word. I turned to the prophet Elijah for my model: (See 1 Kings 17:1-2 Kings 3:11) Elijah trained and discipled Elisha. And Elisha changed his world. Changed his generation for good.
Elijah taught me to pray for, and choose certain people to focus on to train for leadership. And to let them know I needed their help to grow the group.
And to let them serve the group. And to teach well so everyone in the group understood the basic themes of following Jesus. And Elijah taught me not to tolerate bad behaviour. I remember one example from when I first became a cell leader. One girl came to the group and was constantly barking like a dog. No-one had taught me what to do in this situation but I knew I had to tell her to stop. ‘Excuse me’ I said nicely ‘please stop barking like a dog, it’s not acceptable in Home Fellowship time’. And she stopped barking. And she started following Jesus. And she found God’s healing. And she went to church and began to serve. And the last I knew, she was married and following Jesus. haha! Hey, this stuff works!!!
But then there was the guy who brought his beer bottle to Home Fellowship and threatened regularly to hit me on the head with it. I learnt to say ‘excuse me … but you can’t bring that beer bottle into the house. Please leave it at the front door before you come in’. And he didn’t follow that. And it was a bit scary. And I finally said ‘if you can’t stop that crazy threat, please don’t come to Home Fellowship anymore’ And he stopped coming. I was sad, but I knew I was acting for the good of the group (and for me too! haha!) So I learnt that we have to instruct people from God’s Word. God’s perspective. God’s Kingdom. And with God’s love. I also learnt from Elijah to expect the disiples to grow up and become leaders too.
Elijah did everything to train and prepare Elisha for greater success. There is no successful discipling without producing great disciples. A car factory should produce excellent cars. A food place should prepare healthy and tasty food. A good discipler should bring forth excellent, healthy disciples! And these people that will go on to do great things!
Elisha finished up performing twice as many miracles as his discipler Elijah. He fulfilled prophetic words that Elijah failed to do. He had a double anointing.He was a different man than Elijah, with his own style and gifts, but with Elijah’s anointing as well as his own. His overall success was a result of an amazing discipler. Wow – I want to do that …. To help the next generation do even better than my generation.
I want my own 2 boys to exceed me in every way. And I also want to help others as well. As John Maxwell often says ‘There is no success without a successor’ Let’s take Elijah’s example into our lives today!
… let’s look and pray for someone to disciple.
… Let’s change the world in the next generation!