Several years ago a godly man gave me a sheet of paper and asked me to “read it and let me know what you think.” The paper was something like the below link I have included. It didn’t take me long to realize that he had threw out some bait and that I was going to bite down hard!
This “baiting tactic” is not a new one. Fishermen use it. Hunters do so; legally and illegally. And salespeople sometimes use a bait and switch. Bait can be seen as a counterfeit to the real thing, a trap, or even something with which to lure a possible sale or next meal. Bait can also be seen as something that piques or gauges interest; a helpful bait!
As a Christian I use various types of bait as I try to share the Good News of the gospel with those who may be far apart from Christ. It may take the form of a spiritual interest question or two. Gospel tracts are great pieces of bait. Those who have zero interest in spiritual things will tell you “no” right away to the offer of a tract! A simple question may serve as bait. The other day we had the windshield repair man working on one of our cars. He was super outgoing and talkative. I took the bold approach and asked him, “are you a Christian?” As soon as he answered conversationally, I could tell his heart was not ready for further spiritual conversation.
Using bait in a potential discipleship/making relationship is equally important. Remember the Great Commission from Matthew 28? Not only are we to go, but we are to make disciples:
And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen. (bold are mine for emphasis, reflection, and serve as wonderful tools as you take one through this verse while describing active disciplemaking.)
For far too long I behaved as if this verse was optional, or for a specific set of believers; but not me. I never would have said that if confronted, but this is how I behaved practically. I am learning to treat discipleship with the same urgency as evangelism! Not only are the majority of people I meet far from Christ, those who have been born again (Jn 3:3) are not being discipled by a more mature believer nor are they discipling others in an intentional manner. Therefore, it’s safe to assume that almost everyone we meet will fall into either the category of “needs evangelizing,” or “needs to learn about discipling.”
One of the ways that I gauge interest regarding discipleship with new Christians is by asking basic questions: “What are you reading in the Bible right now?” “Are you attending a local church?” “What are you doing to grow in your faith?” Simple questions such as these enable me to guide the conversation and not only see where they are as a believer, but discern whether or not they are open to spending time with a more mature believer for the purpose of growing, fellowship, and eventual multiplication.
I often use the document below when discussing intentional disciplemaking with believers. The godly man who shared an earlier version with me said something like, “take a look at this when you get a chance. If it resonates with you, let me know and I’ll show you what another godly man has shown me.” Since then, I have updated this document to my own liking. It seems that each year I add or subtract as I prayerfully work to better clarify the need for believers to be in a one on one discipling relationship with a new or less mature believer. I have passed it out at discipleship training conferences, emailed it to pastors and friends, and am seeing wonderful results! Christians are hungry to learn to disciple another Christian! Most believers have not been taught how to disciple someone else and are intimidated. This simple training helps! I am now seeing disciples train disciples, who train disciples (2 Tim 2:2)!
Dr. Randy Craig from http://www.disciple-makers.org has graciously allowed me to publicly post this document that first came from his and Dr. Billie Hanks Jr.’s material. Please let me know if I can share more with you or if you’d like to join in on a Zoom call describing how to be a disciple who makes disciples. Blessings! Toby-Matt 4:19