Discipleship Matters – Part 6
Dr. Michael Gossett

A Note from Michael Gossett


As we continue our dive into Jesus’ discipleship model, we turn our attention to Jesus’ model of developing leaders. As we will see today, Jesus was very intentional in his model of developing leaders. Jesus’ unassuming disciples became Christ’s strategy to proclaim the Good News after His ascension, and to this day the local church is Christ’s strategy to fulfill the Great Commission. It’s precisely because of this that new leaders will always need to be developed and deployed. Christ always had the end in mind when developing leaders: their future participation in the Great Commission! How humbling is it to consider that Christ develops us for participation in His kingdom and His mission, and we likewise develop others with that same end in mind!

To emulate Jesus, we must start with being servant leaders. I believe the leadership model of Jesus is best understood through John 13. Jesus tells the disciples, “If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you” (John 13:14-15, ESV). God intends for all believers to grow into servant leaders. J. Oswald Sanders says, “It has been said that in achieving His world-purpose, God’s method has always been a man. Not necessarily a noble man, or a brilliant man, but always a man with capacity for a growing faith. Granted this, there appears to be no limit to the pains God is willing to take in his training. He is limited by neither heredity nor environment.”[1]

Discipleship is often simplified into a system to mature Christians in their knowledge of God. This definition minimizes Jesus’ model of discipleship, which was to develop leaders who evangelize, teach, and multiply other leaders who do the same. Many have studied discipleship since Jesus, but with eternity at stake, one question still drives us: what is the best way to make disciples? Jesus knew that discipleship was simultaneously growing in our knowledge of God while also being developed as a leader for the Great Commission. Jesus fostered intentional relationships with His disciples, strategically allotting His time and energy to build them up.[2] His relational investment resulted in intentional development. What is interesting here is that their development was equally motivated by Christ’s interest in them and Christ’s interest in fulfilling the Great Commission. These two cannot be separated.

As I think about the way Jesus spent his time, I love the beautiful simplicity found in John 3:22. “After this, Jesus and his disciples went to the Judean countryside, where he spent time with them…”.[3] “The word for ‘spend time’ in Greek is pronounced ‘dia-tree-bo.” Dia means ‘against,’ and tribo means ‘to rub.’ To put it literally, diatribe means ‘to rub against’ or ‘to rub off.’ The concept means ‘to spend time together rubbing off on each other.’”[4] Jesus was intentional in spending time with His disciples so that He could help them learn to emulate Himself.

The Great Commission is not only a command for all believers, but also the blueprint for developing disciples who make disciples. To follow this blueprint, believers intentionally cultivate a Great Commission lifestyle. Believers pursue missional living, which informs their purpose in life to reach others with the gospel. One of the reasons we go on short-term mission trips is to be obedient to the Great Commission. Additionally, short-term trips train us to live on mission so that we can cultivate a Great Commission lifestyle here in Tyler. It is easy to see why we must follow the model of Christ as we seek to cultivate a discipleship model that fosters biblical multiplication.

According to the pattern of Jesus, discipleship based on spiritual formation is not enough. A discipleship strategy for leader development and deployment must also be constructed for multiplication to occur.[5] Ephesians 4:12 calls churches to pursue the essential practice of multiplying leadership.[6] While Jesus’ mission was to seek and save the lost, His strategy was to develop leaders so that ministry would continue.[7] Likewise, the local church must prioritize discipleship and leader development. Only a church that intentionally focuses on making disciples will accomplish her objective. Multiplication of leaders will not occur without an intentional strategy for development.

What if every believer understood that they had a role to play in the Great Commission? What if every believer committed to emulating Jesus’ discipleship model in their personal lives? What is interesting is that this “diatribo” pattern of discipleship was not developed by Jesus Himself.[8] It was an adaptation of discipleship that already existed. Students and Jesus alike were familiar with the traditional mentoring system, where an apprentice devoted himself to learning from a master, following him through life. Jesus’ model deviated in that He sought out the student, instead of the learner seeking the teacher.[9]  

As you look back on this week, have you emulated the model of Christ in your personal life? Have you been a servant leader this week? Have you strategically and intentionally allotted time and energy to build someone else up? It is humbling to consider that Christ has redeemed us, and Scripture is clear that He has redeemed us so that we could participate in the Great Commission! After all, the Great Commission is for every believer. Every believer is called not only to be developed but to develop others. Take some time now to simply and genuinely ask the Lord how you can be participatory this week in the Great Commission.

Stay tuned next week for more…

View the guide here!

THIS SUNDAY: We are continuing our series, Anchored, in 1 Peter 2:4-12. The title of the message this week is “Anchored in Community.” As followers of Jesus, we have been given a great gift by the Lord, and that is we have one another to spur us along in our walk with Christ. Come and join us this Sunday at 8:30 or 11:00 am at the Tyler campus, or 11:00 am at the Flint campus.

SIGN UP TODAY! I am so excited to announce the inaugural Green Acres Classic golf tournament hosted by the Green Acres Baptist Church Foundation. The tournament will be on Monday, September 26, 2022, at Willow Brook Country Club. All proceeds will benefit the next generation of ministry leaders by supporting the Residency Program. This is just another thing I LOVE about our church family. We believe in raising up leaders so that the mission of God will continue to advance.

The newly developed Residency Program is designed specifically for those called to full-time vocational ministry. Residents serve on our ministry staff for one year while being developed and discipled by our staff team. They have an opportunity to further their ministry education through a partnership with East Texas Baptist University.

Maybe you don’t want to play Golf, but you can still support this incredible new ministry of the church. Your support of the Green Acres Classic is an eternal investment that goes beyond the boundaries of this world! Please click the image below. To learn more about the Green Acres Baptist Church Foundation, visit GABC.org/foundation.

FALL FRIENDSHIP DINNER: Ladies, I pray that you will be able to attend this year’s Fall Friendship dinner! It is going to be such a great time so men, make sure your wives are there! The dinner will take place on September 13th from 6:00pm – 8:30pm. Just know that this is a huge outreach gathering and serves to kick off all fall Bible studies, Flourish mentoring ministry, and other enrichment events for women of all ages. If you have any additional questions, please be sure to stop by the table in the foyer this Sunday.

STARTING POINT: Come learn all about Green Acres! If you have just recently joined our church or are considering church membership, this class is for you! It is designed to give you a better picture of who we are as a church family. Together, we want you to have a clear understanding of our mission, vision, and values here at Green Acres. For families with children ages birth to elementary, you are welcome to check your children in with Kids’ Ministry. Register here!

I pray that your walk with the Lord has been encouraging and challenging as we walk through these 10 days of fasting and prayer. It is never too late to jump in! I look forward to seeing all of you this Wednesday for a Night of Prayer and Worship as we gather together to end these incredible days of intentional fasting and prayer. You can download the guide here.

I cannot wait to worship with you this Sunday!

You are loved and prayed for!

Michael Gossett

[1] Sanders, J. Oswald (John Oswald), Robust in Faith: Men from God’s School (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1965), 9. 

[2] Eddie Mosley, Connecting in Communities: Understanding the Dynamics of Small Groups (Colorado Springs, Colorado: NavPress, 2011), 69.

[3] Reference to John 3:22, emphasis mine.

[4] Dave Ferguson and Warren Bird, Hero Maker: Five Essential Practices for Leaders to Multiply Leaders (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2018), 115.

[5] Dennis McCallum and Jessica Lowery, Organic Discipleship: Mentoring Others into Spiritual Maturity and Leadership (Columbus, Ohio: New Paradigm Publishing, 2012), 26. 

[6] Glen Martin and Gary McIntosh, Creating Community: Deeper Fellowship Through Small Group Ministry, (Nashville, TN: Broadman and Holman Publishers, 1997), 4.

[7] Gary L. McIntosh, Growing God’s Church, 48.

[8] John Koessler, True Discipleship: The Art of Following Jesus, 150.

[9] Bill Hull, The Complete Book of Discipleship, 63.