When you’re too busy to, personally, make disciples

“I need to delegate disciplemaking.” “Running the church takes so much time that I need to delegate that.” “You don’t know how busy I am. This ministry has grown huge and lots of people depend on me.” And on and on…

Over the years I bet I’ve heard a hundred reasons why busy leaders (like you?) are so time pressed that personal disciplemaking is out of the question.

But is it really?

My favorite thing to do in disciplemaking seminars is to get everyone poised with pen in hand, hold my breath for five seconds and then tell them to write the names of their three closest disciples, without thinking. Some scribble three names in a hurry. Others have a longer list, but many others just stare at the paper. Some of those eventually put down a name or two, but if it takes a while to list them I always wonder if they are really making disciples.

So, what do you do if you are too busy to make disciples?

You cut something out. It’s pretty simple. Jesus never told us to go build a big church or a large and successful parachurch ministry. He did say that we are to make disciples. And he showed us how to do it.

Yes, it takes time—lots of it. And I understand that you may feel that you are too busy or too necessary to a smooth-running organization to spend time with just a handful of people. Gut this isn’t an option. It’s a command, and it happens to lay a path toward turning whatever you do into a movement.

A reality check

A side benefit to making disciples is the way they keep you real. The ivory tower isolates leaders.

You may be surrounded by people who make the world turn. They may turn on your every word, but I guarantee they are no substitute for close contact with a few people in a disciplemaking relationship.

Get friendly enough and your disciple will argue with you, which is infinitely better than surrounding yourself with people whose paycheck comes from your desk. You’ll learn to cry with some and rejoice with others. Your disciples will pry your fingers off sophisticated programs in favor of building relational equity into your organization.

Ultimate benefits

If you make disciples, their victories become yours. You gain a broader perspective on ministry–you even grow when disciples blow a tire or turn against you. Paul did. And you reproduce (hopefully multiply) yourself many times over.

Jesus spent more time with the few than with the crowds. We have much to glean from his example. Someone counted the events in Jesus’ walk, discovering that more than 70 percent of the recorded events find him relating to his disciples. This may be hard to grasp, but the movement he touched off is bigger than yours or my church or 501 c3. The grand reward for making disciples is more disciples of Jesus as your disciples repeat the process.

I’m pretty sure that anyone reading this intends to leverage their life to its fullest potential. Trouble is we get sidetracked by things that promise much but deliver little. Just look at your budget from three years ago checking off those wonderful investments that brought little return.

Consider your staff meetings. How could they be modified to provide disciplemaking opportunities? How could a relationship with your next-door-neighbor enlighten you to spiritual needs and opportunities you never considered. If you’re too busy to make disciples its time for a serious priority check.

If you’ve faced this problem and overcome it, maybe you have advice for the rest of us. Or, perhaps, you stumbled into a unique way to relate in a disciplemaking relationship. Please comment below…