Chi Alpha Christian Fellowship is about reaching students, training leaders, and influencing nations. We take seriously the words of Jesus in Matthew 28:18-20 to “Go and make disciples,” not go and find them. We have been actively working for over 50 years to help students become committed followers of Jesus and his teaching, as well as those who will pass it on to others.
I have had the privilege of introducing many students to Jesus. My greatest joy has been winning and training men and women whom God has chosen and called to be His representatives in the world. That is what Jesus emphasized in the Great Commission and what the apostle Paul instructed Timothy, his son in the faith, in 2 Timothy 2:2, “The things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will be qualified to teach others.”
Helping Christians grow in their faith and mature in their obedience to God’s Word doesn’t just happen through random acts of ministry like going to meetings, Bible studies, or justice events. Each Chi Alpha chapter needs a pattern to build faithful Christians, one that provides a clear vision, character growth, and transferable skills from the beginning. What does a disciple look like? If we don’t know what a disciple looks like on two legs, how will we be able to make one?
So what does a good pattern look like? There is no specific right way to make disciples, but certain principles apply. First, the pattern needs to be attainable and challenging; this way no one can stop growing because they feel like they have arrived. Second, we must be careful not to develop a legalistic pattern, since Jesus warned the Pharisees about such a damaging approach to godly living. And finally, the best patterns are those that follow the model set out by Jesus and his disciples in the Bible. Many of us read the words of Jesus (often marked in red), but we miss the method by which he lived his life and what he actually did with the disciples. A great book to understand and implement Jesus’ method is The Master Plan of Evangelism, by Robert Coleman.
Willow Creek Community Church, under Bill Hybels, created a pattern of “Five G’s” for developing people. This simple guide consists of Grace (salvation), Growth (personal), Group (participation in), Gifts (and their use in service), and Good Stewardship (of resources).
Another pattern includes the following word pictures that describe a growing disciple: Saint (saved – in a growing, loving, intimate relationship with God and fellow believers); Student (teachable – hungry to learn and apply God’s Word to daily living); Servant (obedient – committed to putting Christ first, and joyfully serving Him and others); Steward (faithful – responsible for managing their God given resources of time, talent, and money); and Soldier (possessing an eternal perspective – actively praying and seeking to reach and disciple others).
Remember that no matter what pattern you use, the key is to know what you are building.
A student disciple is a person of FAITH (F = Faithful: carries through on commitments and is reliable to handle their resources; A = Available: carries a burden for God and His work and makes time to work at it; I = Influential: models a concern for the work of God, has vision for growth, and is willing to take risks to accomplish the vision; T = Teachable: humble and willing to learn; and H = Hopeful: believes God has the power to do what He promised…an encourager.
Serve globally. Jesus invested in a few for the sake of the many. What are you building?
Love is a verb,