Mark 3:13-14 (ESV) contains the Be With Me invitation: “And he went up on the mountain and called to him those whom he desired, and they came to him. And he appointed twelve (whom he also named apostles) so that they might be with him and he might send them out to preach.” Jesus’ invitation should become the model for all groups as they learn to:
- Love Well.
- Invest in Community.
- Focus on God’s Word.
- Engage the World (LIFE*).
Three keys to emulate in this invitation:
Desire as He desires
Mark 3 reveals an overwhelming truth: Jesus loved us first. He calls those He desires to be with Him. We should desire what He desires: “This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:3-4 ESV).
LifeWay researcher Scott McConnell recently revealed the top two indicators of maturing disciples:
- Praying for opportunities to share the Gospel.
- Praying for people you know who need Christ.
Jesus desires that no one would “perish, but that all should reach repentance”(2 Peter 3:9 ESV).
Disciple as He disciples
“In the first book, O Theophilus, I have dealt with all that Jesus began to do and teach” (Acts 1:1 ESV). Jesus discipled by modeling: not just teaching but doing as well.
As we invite others to “be with me,” there are three key aspects of making disciples:
Disciple-making is relational: Do not invite people to go somewhere, but to be with you. One of the great driving forces to go anywhere is to be with someone who loves you.
Disciple-making is educational: Note the order of Acts 1:1 as it demonstrates that learning engages the whole person in doing.
Disciple-making is transformational: True disciple-making forms and conforms an individual into Christlikeness that leads to the total transformation of that person.
Deploy as He deploys
Jesus invited them to be with Him, so He could send them. “As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you” (John 20:21 ESV).
We should deploy people with His threefold purpose in sending disciples:
To share the Gospel: “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10 ESV).
To Proclaim Truth: “For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth” (John 18:37 ESV).
To Make Disciples (see all of John 17): “I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them” (John 17:26 ESV).
Hear His invitation and let His disciple-making movement begin in you.
*LIFE as introduced by State Missionary J. Steve Layton, lead strategist for GroupLife.
State Missionary Daniel Edmonds serves as director of the Office of Sunday School & Discipleship. He may be contacted at 1-800-264-1225, ext. 2285, or (334) 613-2285, firstname.lastname@example.org.