Discipleship Matters – Part 7
Dr. Michael Gossett

A Note from Michael Gossett



Last week, we discussed Jesus’ discipleship model and how he spent time with His disciples. Jesus was very intentional with His time with the disciples. Specifically, we see that Jesus utilized three phases in his approach to developing leadership within them. If our aim is to fulfill the Great Commission in the making of disciples, we have much from the example that Christ has given us. Not only do we have the formula given in the Great Commission, but today we will examine the three distinct phases that Jesus used to develop leaders.


Phase One – Mentoring: Jesus was masterful in his practice of mentorship. The concept of mentoring has existed for centuries. In certain African cultures, the term referred to a boy growing up to become a man.[1] At the core, mentoring is the further maturation of an individual. In this case, I think of development as helping someone become more like Jesus Christ.

Phase one is demonstrated by Jesus’ calling of His disciples. The invitation described in Matthew 4:19 is to come follow Jesus and He will make the disciples “fishers of men.” Jesus trained His disciples thoroughly, fully equipping them to be fishers of men. Even today, we as disciples of Jesus still carry this duty to invest in others.[2] After the call to become fishers of men, Jesus immediately began instructing His disciples. Mentoring is an intentional process of teaching and demonstrating a definitive set of values. The values intended to be shared are those modeled by Christ. Simply put, they are to evangelize, teach others to live like Christ, and to multiply. Bill Hull describes Jesus’ initial relating with the disciples as the “come and see” phase of His ministry.[3] Paul also modeled this type of mentorship. After Jesus addressed the crowds, He took time to further mentor the disciples privately with greater detail (Mark 4:34). This additional time and teaching saturated them in the Word of God and reinforced sound doctrine.[4]

In every moment, Jesus modeled ministry before His disciples.[5] They beheld miracles, heard Jesus teach, watched how He responded to the Pharisees, and most importantly, observed Jesus as a servant leader committed to the will of His Father.[6] Everything they witnessed and heard prepared them for the next phase of growth with Jesus.

Phase Two – Apprenticeship: During the apprenticeship stage, the disciples were invited to participate with Jesus in His ministry. One of the greatest hindrances to fostering leaders is the void of participation and empowerment. Both can emerge organically through an apprenticeship. Captain L. David Marquet, a retired Navy officer, offers principles for bolstering leaders that churches can apply. According to Captain Marquet, lack of participation stems from a top-down command and control system of leadership. Participation flourishes in a bottom-up philosophy of leadership that empowers team members to thrive according to their skill set and giftedness.[7] The apprenticeship phase should create a collaborative and engaging atmosphere so ministry can flow. Empowered leadership enables learning and growth in the maturation process.[8]

During this stage of development, Jesus shared a deepened level of intimacy with His disciples. As Jesus’ level of expectation elevated, they moved from casual observers to active participants. “Apprenticeship is true to the intent and expression of how Jesus did discipleship.”[9] According to Bill Hull, when Jesus states, “I will make you,” He imparts a level of responsibility to the disciples.[10] In Matthew chapter 9, Jesus illustrates the necessity for His followers to advance the Kingdom of God. The mandate to fish for men moves into the forefront as the expectation is that they are now becoming ministers.

The apprenticeship phase provides the opportunity to implement what you have already learned as you continue to learn. During this phase, the teacher stays near to offer clarification and encouragement during this critical time of training. This stage of leadership multiplies effectiveness as more people participate in Kingdom work. John chapter six elaborates on the mentorship that Jesus shared with His disciples. Mike Breen describes this stage as “I do, you help.”[11] During the miracle of Jesus feeding the 5,000, He exhibited intentional actions that allowed the disciples to share in the ministry. They moved beyond the role of observers to serve others in the name of Jesus.[12] Paul continued this pattern when he invited Timothy to join him on his second missionary journey and to partner with him in ministry.[13]

Phase Three – Coaching: In Jesus’ third phase of leader development, He began to deploy them into ministry opportunities without Him. The gospels describe Jesus calling to the disciples and sending them out for ministry.[14] Jesus charges them to go and do what they have seen him do, assuring them of their calling and authority. It is during this phase that Jesus sends the disciples out two by two to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick (Luke 9:1).[15] It is important to note that Jesus was still available to the disciples. Mike Breen describes this third phase as “You do, I help.”[16] After the disciples returned, Jesus offered coaching after hearing the reports of how they ministered in His name. Robert Coleman identifies these interactions between Jesus and the disciples as a checkup regarding ministry activity.[17]  During this critical time of development, each disciple ministered without the mentor present.

FREE DOWNLOAD: I love our church’s “Discipleship Guide,” a free resource to help equip our church to make disciples. This guide is specifically designed to help you walk with others in a discipleship relationship. Grab someone from your connect group, a friend, a mentor, or someone younger and just commit to going through the guide together. I know you will be amazed at the fruit from relationships such as this. Hold each other accountable. Pray for one another. Grow together in the likeness of Christ. Stay tuned next week for more….


THIS SUNDAY: Come and join us this Sunday as we continue our series, Anchored, as we study 1 Peter 2:13-25 and we will look at what it means to be “Anchored in Submission.” Come and worship with us 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 that will be 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 and 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! To support this ministry: CLICK HERE. To learn more about the Green Acres Baptist Church Foundation, CLICK HERE.

STARTING POINT THIS SUNDAY: 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.

WORSHIP MINISTRY CHRISTMAS KICKOFF: This Wednesday night at 6:30pm in our Choir Room, the Worship Ministry is having their kickoff to the Christmas Season!  If you have ever wanted to be a part of the Worship Ministry, this is the night to finally take that next step.  Show up and you will be welcomed with open arms!  They will be previewing the plans and the music for the Christmas Season and dreaming about the future.  No better time to get involved.  You never know…there may be a couple special guests as well…See you there!

WOMEN’S MINISTRY FALL KICKOFF: This week Debbie Stuart and our Women’s Ministry team hosted the Fall Friendship Dinner. Our staff team and deacon body had the pleasure of serving the 780 ladies that were in attendance! I want to take a moment to express my gratitude for Debbie for the way that she leads and serves—she is an encouragement to me. If you are not connected in Women’s Ministry, now is a great time to jump in as they are kicking off Fall Bible Studies and Flourish Groups beginning Tuesday, September 20th. CLICK HERE to get connected.

JOURNEYS OF PAUL TRIP: I would like to invite you to join Katie & me on an amazing journey retracing the footsteps of the Apostle Paul. The trip will be September 17-26, 2023. We will step into history and walk alongside Paul as we journey through Philippi, Thessaloniki, Berea, Athens, Corinth, Crete, Patmos, and Ephesus. The Holy Scriptures will come to life in unimaginable ways! This will be a trip of a lifetime that promises to forever change all of us! For more information on this trip, CLICK HERE


I cannot wait to worship with you this Sunday!


You are loved and prayed for!

Michael Gossett


[1] Edward L. Smither, Augustine as Mentor: A Model for Preparing Spiritual Leaders (Nashville, TN: B&H Publishing Group, 2008), 4.

 [2] Stuart K. Weber, Matthew vol. 1, Holman New Testament Commentary (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2000), 46.

[3] Bill Hull, Jesus Christ Disciplemaker (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2004), 27.

[4] Edward L. Smither, Augustine as Mentor: A Model for Preparing Spiritual Leaders (Nashville, TN: B&H Publishing Group, 2008), 20.

[5] Keith Phillips, The Making of a Disciple (Los Angeles, California: World Impact Press, 1981), 149.

[6] Bill Hull, Complete Book of Discipleship, 171.

[7] L. David Marquet, Turn the Ship Around: A True Story of Turning Followers into Leaders, (New York, New York: Penguin Group, 2012), 81.

[8] Larry Crabb, Understanding People (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1987), 109-15.

[9] Dave Ferguson and Warren Bird, Hero Maker: Five Essential Practices for Leaders to Multiply Leaders (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2018), 117.

[10] Bill Hull, Complete Book of Discipleship, 177.

[11] Mike Breen, Multiplying Missional Leaders (Pawleys Island, SC: 3D Ministries; 1 Edition, 2012), 85.

[12] Jim Putman, “Six Things Jesus Did to Equip His Disciples for Ministry,” Discipleship.org (blog), accessed November 4, 2018, https://discipleship.org/blog/six-things-jesus-did-to-equip-his-disciples-for-ministry/

 [13] Dave Earley and Rod Dempsey, Disciplemaking Is…, 161.

 [14] The scriptures referenced are Mark 6:7, Matthew 10:5, and Luke 9:1-2.

 [15] Robert E. Coleman, The Master Plan of Evangelism (Grand Rapids: MI: Revell, 1993), 73.

 [16] Mike Breen, Multiplying Missional Leaders, 85.

 [17] Robert E. Coleman, The Master Plan of Evangelism, 83.