It’s an often quoted passage, but the application can feel elusive. It stirs emotions, but we don’t always know how to get from emotion to action. The Jesus’ last words recorded in the Gospel of Matthew are, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:20). This passage called “The Great Commission” can sometimes feel greater than our capabilities. It doesn’t have to be. If we read the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John), we can glean so much from the ultimate discipler: Jesus. Looking at three habits of Jesus, we can see a beginning blueprint of discipleship.

  1. Jesus prayed.

Jesus had many followers early on in his ministry, but he chose 12 specific people to be the guys he would spend the most time with, travel with, model discipleship, and eventually send them out into the world to do what he did. Prior to selecting these 12, Jesus spent a night on a mountain side praying. From this quiet time, Jesus was ready. We can’t underestimate the importance of praying and being led by God in choosing someone to disciple—God’s guidance will come in handy when discipleship becomes tough or when we want to give up! Even more than this, we want to continue grow in our walk with God, so what we’re passing on to our disciplee is fresh and shaped by what God is doing in our own lives. Our personal prayer time with God is so valuable.

  1. Jesus taught.

Jesus taught many things—prayer, parables, preaching the Gospel. The reassuring news is that we don’t have to come up with our own material—the Great Commission tells us to teach what Jesus taught. One option could be to read through one of the Gospels with your disciplee. (My personal favorite is Luke!) Regardless of the how, just be sure to pass on the most important what. Jesus tells us the greatest commandments are these: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind…Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:37-40). Everything else in life falls under one of these commandments; if we keep these commandments at the forefront of our lives, we and our disciplees will begin to become more like Jesus.

  1. Jesus empowered.

This might be the hardest part because it requires trust on both yours and the disciplee’s part, and results may vary. Luckily, Jesus wasn’t afraid of mistakes—clearly, he knew he was working with human beings. In Luke 10, he sends out 72 followers in pairs to different towns to preach the Gospel and heal the sick. Jesus had modeled these things first, and now Jesus was sending them out (on their own!) to do it. Jesus taught, modeled, then sent. We can do the same with our disciplees.

Discipleship can sometimes sounds like a big scary, super spiritual commitment that only faith giants can do. Discipleship is spiritual; it does require commitment, but it’s a calling for everyone, everywhere. As we step into discipleship, let’s remember Jesus’ promise in the Great Commission: “I am with you always.”

Movement Step: Have you had a chance to pray about who to disciple? Do this important first step that Jesus did before he chose his disciples. Look at your calendar; if quite time isn’t already a part of your daily life, be sure to make space for it, so you can be growing as your disciplee is also growing.