My family loves to fish so it was an exciting adventure when we chartered a boat with a guide to fish for ocean trout. My son and I along with my three grandsons (ages 11, 9, and 7). The guide explained about how to fish for speckled trout and told us what to expect. He was very careful with the equipment and started by making the cast for every rig. He would then fish each one and explain what he was doing and why. He would show us how to hook the fish. When he hooked one, he would hand the rod to one of the boys and they would reel it in.
After a while, the guide let my son start working the bait after the guide had made the cast. Then eventually my son made the casts and worked the bait. Then our guide worked with me and then the oldest grandson. By the end of our charter, the guide was working with the seven-year-old, my oldest grandson and I were fishing by ourselves, and my son was teaching his oldest son how to cast and fish.
Our guide explained the process, demonstrated the process, helped us to learn the process, and even let my son begin doing the same with his son.
It got me to thinking about helping new Christians become mature, healthy followers of Jesus.
We might begin by explaining things, answering questions, and studying the Bible. But while we are doing those things, the brand new follower is watching us. They are observing how we live as followers of Jesus. They see how we treat people, how we live, how we serve, and how we share our faith.
They then begin to participate with us. As they learn, we help them to be more and more confident in how to live as a believer. They grow to the point that they are living as mature, healthy, functioning disciples. And they start helping others to become disciples. Just like they learned.
Demonstrate the disciple life. Explain why and how to follow Jesus. Walk closely with them as they learn. Watch as they grow up in Christ. See them making other disciples.
And on and on it goes.
Followers who make followers.