by Joel Comiskey
We hear a lot about the need to make more disciples (Matthew 28:18-19). And this is very important because at least 65% of the 7.5 billion people on this earth are non-Christian. We have a lot of work to do.
But Jesus also wants us to make better disciples. In the great commission found in Matthew 28, Jesus says, “and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:20). Yes, we need to reach as many as possible, but the quality of our disciple-making is also essential.
In my initial research of worldwide cell churches, I was impressed to find that all of them implemented a clear discipleship equipping track that took believers from conversion all the way to leading a cell and beyond. The reason for the equipping was to teach their members to obey Christ’s teaching and to help them to become better disciples of Christ.
Cell churches also maximize weekly Sunday preaching to make better disciples. Pastors prepare diligently to teach members how to obey Christ’s teaching. In the cell group, members apply those teachings through transparent sharing.
But leaders also need coaching so they can grow deeper. I like to use the phrase “discipleship coaching” to remind people that the coaching of leaders is part of the discipleship process. We see many examples of one-on-one leadership coaching in the Bible (e.g., Jethro and Moises, Elijah and Elisha, Barnabas and Paul, and Paul and Timothy).
But making better disciples also includes helping each individual believer walk with Jesus daily. For example, how many believers in your church have a regular day off? How many have daily devotions? And how many are taking care of their bodies? (which are the temples of the living God).
In May 2020, I’m coming out with a new book called Living in Victory: 8 Spiritual Truths for Transformation and Renewal. The goal of this book is to help believers become better disciples of Jesus Christ and live in Christian victory. Most of my books have focused on how to do this through the local cell church, but in my book Living in Victory the goal is to resource individual believers to go deeper and live in victory.
In the book I will cover victory that comes from trusting God’s control, understanding God’s grace, spending daily time with Jesus, developing deep relationships, commitment to the local church, taking a day off, taking care of your body, and preparing for eternity. The goal of each of these themes is to help believers live in victory and become better, deeper disciples of Jesus Christ.
The cell church is fine-tuned to make better disciples. Yet, individual members are also responsible to grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ. The goal of discipleship is to become like Jesus, as John says, “Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is”(1 John 3:2).