How do you make disciples that make disciples that will in turn make more disciples?

Good morning %FIRSTNAME%.

I coached youth baseball for years, and my Dad before me, and now our oldest son is coaching his children. I married into a coaching family. I guess you could say it is a part of our family DNA and heritage. It has been rewarding to invest ourselves in generations of young people as they sought to master the game of baseball. I’d like to share what I’ve learned from those years of playing and coaching and apply it to our efforts to make disciples. Follow me for just a minute.

Imagine if I had used only one method of coaching to build individual players and their team. Can you see in your mind’s eye a group of little guys coming out to play baseball for the first time? There they sit in the dugout. They are eagerly anticipating the thrill of playing the game and instead of putting them out on the field to warm up by playing catch I pull out my baseball bible and begin to wax eloquent about the in’s and out’s of the game. I share with them how to perform in the world of baseball so they can defeat the opponent and conquer the elements of the baseball world. I tell them baseball stories of old! How Babe Ruth and the Yankees ruled the league and won world series. How productive would this one approach be? Is it enough by itself to help players reach their full potential and build them into fully developed ball players? Do I need to do more than teach and lecture them about the game? 

What if I added some teaching aids to my coaching? What if I added a picture of a baseball, a bat and a glove?! Put it on the power point screen at the ball field. Now they can see a representation of what a baseball, bat and glove look like.

What if I added a map of a baseball field that showed the location of the bleachers, the infield and outfield with the dugouts and bull pins? Would this be enough to make kids thoroughly devoted and developed followers of baseball? Would this enable them to perform well in real life games? Would they be prepared to play?

What if I took it a step further and added a third coaching tool to my bag of tricks? What if I added to the baseball bible, maps, and full colored renderings, a real baseball, bat and glove? What if I let them see them, hold them, smell the leather of the glove and toss the ball in the air? What if we added to that, the opportunity to watch a live baseball game from the bleachers so they can hear the crack of the bat and the pop of the ball as it hits the catcher’s mitt? What if I sit right there with them and explain the game play by play? Will this be enough to make them fully developed ball players? 

I would argue that it won’t quite get the job done. What I had to do as a coach was to add a fourth tool to the coaching process. I put the kids on the field and gave them actual baseball experience, both in practice and in games.

Every thing we did in practice and games was a teaching and training opportunity to help each player reach their full potential and master the game. We coached, critiqued, criticized, corrected, cheered and complimented them as they worked hard to perfect their baseball skills and teamwork. We wanted them to play well and love the game for the rest of their lives. We wanted them to become “baseball disciples” who would make other “baseball disciples“. 

We knew from experience that it takes at least three key ingredients to build solid ball players. These three key elements are teaching, training and time. Without any of these three woven together in our coaching process it weakened the end product or in this case the players and team.

The first three coaching practices are helpful and needed but incomplete, in my experience, without the fourth one. There is nothing that can replace the experience of a baseball hitting your glove while catching a fly ball or fielding a grounder or the crack of the bat at the plate or the breeze rushing past your face as you round the bases at full speed! There is nothing that can replace the pressure of pitching when the game is on the line and the bases are loaded and the count is full. In my thinking and experience there is nothing that can build ball players like working hard in practice and playing the game. I believe the same goes for making disciples in our churches.

If you want to “Be” and “Build” followers of Christ that will in turn develop others to follow Him I would suggest you implement more than the first three disciple making tools we commonly use. Below are several links that will take you to resources to help you further develop your disciple making process.

May God enrich your every effort to win souls and make disciples!


Click on the links below to get started.

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