Dare to Disciple: Practical Steps to Mentoring Believers/Program 3

By: Dr. Robby Gallaty; ©2010
The importance of having an accountable relationship as part of the discipleship process. We’ll learn that accountability is not something to fear, but something to embrace and encourage. When we do, we are able to talk about our weaknesses and better overcome the sins that keep us from living lives pleasing to God.



Announcer: What do you think is the main thing, the number one thing that Jesus wants every Christian in America, Canada, Central America, South America, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia, the Philippines and Australia, to do. Jesus said, “Go and make disciples.” What is a disciple? How do you make a disciple?

My guest today who will tell us is Robby Gallaty, a man who pastors a church of 3,200 members, and has four morning services, yet personally disciples seven or eight people each year. They, in turn, have gone on to disciple. Now, if you have never discipled anyone, is it really possible you could do this? What are the practical things you need to know? Today you will find out on this special edition of The John Ankerberg Show.

Ankerberg: Welcome to our program. We’ve got a great one for you today. We’re talking about the fact that our world, we have over seven billion people living in our world today, and four and a half billion of those folks do not know the Lord Jesus. So what’s going to happen? What needs to happen? What’s God’s plan?
God’s plan is the Great Commission, where He sends Christians like you and me into the world, to our neighbor, to the friends that we know, to tell them about the Lord and to disciple them. Jesus says, “All authority has been given to me in heaven and in earth.” He’s God, and on the basis of that He says, “Go into the world and make disciples.”
Now, how do you make disciples? We’re talking about that, and we’re talking about the practical aspects of…. People say, “I don’t know what to do. I don’t know what to say.” And I’ve invited one of the premier Bible teachers in our country, Robby Gallaty, to be with us and be our guest. He’s got a church of over 3200 members, got four services on Sunday, and yet he has discipled, in the last seven years, over 30 individuals that then, some of those folks, now are going out and they are discipling other people. He has made that a priority. And, Robby, I’m glad that you’re here. And today we’re talking about these practical aspects. And for the folks that missed last week, we want to talk about the Bible. And then today we want to talk about the place of prayer in the role of making disciples of the Lord Jesus.
Let’s rehash. What is a disciple, first of all? And how do you start? What’s the place of the Bible? Give us a kind of a rehash of what we’ve been talking about.
Gallaty: We’ve been talking about discipleship. And a disciple is a learner. It’s another word for an apprentice. And I use the words “disciple,” “coach,” and “mentor” interchangeably, but the important thing to remember is this: it’s not just what you know, it’s putting into practice what you know. It’s modeling it for other people to follow, namely those that you’re discipling.
The first episode, we talked about the importance to jump in the game. Where to meet? We said you can meet at Starbucks; you can meet at a coffee house; you can meet at a bookstore; you can meet in the break room; you can meet at your house. But it’s important to find the time to meet with people. It’s important to meet with neighbors, or you can ask people into the group. But I said you don’t want to go more than four people; preferably three total, but no more than four total. Then we talked about the importance of the Word and how the Word is the bedrock to everything we know. And we should get into the Word until the Word gets into us.
And then we talked last week, how do we use the Word in the discipleship process? And I came up with this acronym: HEAR – Highlight, Explain, Apply, Respond. And as we read through the Bible we begin to highlight Scriptures as the Lord begins to speak to us. And then we engage the text. We ask questions under the explanation part: What does the text mean? Or what was the intent of the Holy Spirit? And then we get to the crux of it, which is the “apply.” Well, you know, how does this text apply to me? Now, we talked about this, and it’s important for us to remember that the text can only apply to you, today, in the same way, it meant to the readers and the hearers back then. And so one thing we have to remember is, when we interpret Scripture, we interpret Scripture with Scripture. Now the audience might be saying, “Well, how do I do that, Robby? It’s hard to understand at times and I don’t really understand it.” Let me give them a couple resources that have helped me.
Ankerberg: Yeah.
Gallaty: First of all, it’s good to have a Bible dictionary. I remember, in the discipleship process, David Platt gave me a gift for my birthday early on. And he said, “Robby, here’s a gift that you’ll use.” And he was right. It was a Bible dictionary.
In addition to that, it’s important to have a study Bible. I know we were talking earlier about the importance of having the commentary underneath the text, and how that’s been useful. But some people may say, “Well, I just don’t really have the money for that,” or “I don’t know where to go for that.” We have access on the internet today. You can go to websites like Bible Gateway or you can go to bible.org, and there are great resources.
Ankerberg: And you can compare. You could take one verse and compare all the different translations. You could have the Greek and Hebrew down at the bottom, so you can actually look at how the different translations have interpreted the words in those verses.
Gallaty: Absolutely. And so after you have this idea of how to mentor and how to understand the Bible yourself, then you enter into the group with the men or the women that you’re discipling. And it’s important to keep them accountable to their reading time. You know, in a quiet time, it’s important to realize that it’s a time to get alone with the Lord. I encourage all the disciples that I’m mentoring with, that you need to get alone with the Lord every single day; maybe 20 minutes, maybe 30 minutes, but it should be every day. And when we come back together, I hold them accountable. John, I tell them as we start, “You share with me the Scripture memory verse that we’re memorizing for the week,” and they do that. And if they don’t have it memorized, then they feel discouraged: “Well, maybe I need to do that.” And I do that to hold them accountable.
Ankerberg: Yeah. Not only what is the verse that you’re memorizing, but what’s jumping out at you from that verse? These verses come alive, and especially in the discussion when you’re talking about it. And then later on, these verses that are in your mind, it’s amazing that the verses that you use seem to pop up in other situations during your week when you’re actually memorizing them.
Gallaty: Yeah, exactly. It’s amazing how the Lord uses what you’ve studied that day in your life. And then I hold them accountable for prayer. And not only do I hold them accountable, and ask them, are you praying in your own life, we pray as a group. And I’ve learned more from prayer, not praying, but listening to other men pray. It’s taught me more on how to pray by just listening to other guys pray.
Ankerberg: Let’s back up one step to, for people that have missed the first couple weeks, talk about how easy it was when you were a new Christian and you had come out of a life of sin and you were a rugged individual and you were kind of wandering. In fact, you relapsed back into sin after you’d become a Christian. And so you were struggling. And somebody came along and how did they invite you to get into this mentoring process?
Gallaty: Yeah. A man came to me in church and one day he said, “Would you be interested in reading the Bible, memorizing Scripture and praying?” Now, a lot of people think “Nobody wants to do that with me. Nobody’s going to say yes to that.” We’d be surprised how many will actually say… we’d be surprised how many people in our own life, in our own neighborhood, in our own churches, that if we go up to and say, “Would you be interested in meeting once a week to read the Bible, to study the Word, to memorize Scripture, to pray for one another, to be accountable to one another?”, it’s amazing how many people would actually say yes. The problem is, we don’t ask.
Ankerberg: Yeah. And I would say, Robby, when they do come into that relationship, you lay it out, that first time around. You say, “I’m glad that we’ve met, and here’s what we’re going to do.” And how do you usually approach that first meeting?
Gallaty: Well, I lay out a covenant with them. And I say, “This is a serious meeting. We’re going to spend our life together for the next 12 to 18 months. And I need to know that you’re going to be committed to coming.” And some people have said, “Uh, this isn’t really for me, Robby. I’m not interested in it.” But that’s okay. Because what Jesus did is, when people would come into a discipleship relationship with Him, He didn’t lower the bar, He would raise the bar. You remember the story. The man said, “I’ll follow You, but let me go bury my father.” Jesus said, “You can’t do that. The kingdom’s too important today.” So it’s important for us to remember that the discipleship relationship is a real relationship; it’s an accountable relationship; and it’s a relationship that we enter in through a covenant with another person.
Ankerberg: Yeah. And I’ve found that God shows up, and when you start to read the Word of God together, it talks to you as much as you’re sharing with your friends. It works on your life. When you pray, which is what we’re going to talk about here in a moment, when you pray God answers prayers in your life as well as in your friend’s life. There’s a demonstration that’s going on. There’s a reality of Christianity that you don’t have if you don’t get off the bench and get into the game.
Gallaty: Yeah. And a lot of people, John, I think don’t know how to pray and don’t read the Word and don’t memorize Scripture because they’ve never been taught how to do that. And they don’t really believe that God could actually answer their prayers.
Ankerberg: Well, let’s talk about the fact, first of all, the promises that are in Scripture about praying, okay. I think the biggest problem that I had is I never believed God would do something for me, okay? I always thought, ah, He’d do something for Robby and He’d do something for other pastors but, you know, I don’t think He’d do anything for Ankerberg. And I’m just saying, when I came across these verses, Jeremiah 33:3, “Call unto me,” God says, “and I will answer thee.” If you’re a plumber, if you’re a school teacher, if you’re a nurse, if you’re a doctor, if you’ve got sin in your life, if you’re not spiritual, you just say “I don’t think God would do it for me,” okay? You’re the very person that needs to call and ask God for help. And God says He will help. “Ask and it shall be given you, seek and ye shall find, knock and it shall be opened unto you.”
I just want to encourage folks that are listening, don’t put God in a box. Don’t look at all the sins of your life and say it couldn’t happen for me. When I look at the sins of your life, okay, talk about the thing, the background that you were in, why did you even think that you could pray?
Gallaty: Yeah, absolutely.
Ankerberg: Talk about that.
Gallaty: Well, I came out of a life of addiction. I said earlier, in a couple episodes, that the Lord rescued me out of a life of heroin and cocaine addiction, a $180 a day addiction. Didn’t have a relationship with the Lord, didn’t have a desire to serve the Lord. And God rescued me out of that. And so if I would have thought about my past – you know, I don’t deserve this or God hasn’t forgiven me for my past – I would have never gotten to the place to be dependent upon the Lord, to even ask Him for prayer. But I realized that God doesn’t judge me based on my past; He judges me based on the righteousness of Christ. And because of Christ, I can stand before the Lord now and ask God to do things for me, because Christ is the mediator between God and man.
I think what people don’t realize is this: is that God wants to answer our prayers as believers. He’s like a joyful father, waiting for us to ask Him for things. The problem is we don’t ask for much. You see, prayer is talking to God; the Word is listening from God; and it’s a conversation. And as we begin to saturate our minds with the Word, know the Word, know the heart of God, we’ll begin to know how to pray to God.
See, in the Psalms what they always did, and we can learn from this, they always started their prayers with the attributes of God: Who God was, His goodness, His grace, His mercy, His longsuffering. They started with that, not so that God could be reminded of who He is, but they reminded themselves of who God was. And then it put them in the right frame of mind. And then they asked what they wanted to ask the Lord. And it’s a good thing for us to remember, as we start to pray unto the Lord, we can be reminded of who God is, and then we can ask God for personal things and things in our lives.
Ankerberg: Alright. We’re going to take a BREAK . When we come back we’re going to talk a little bit more about prayer. And I can remember when I was reading the Bible verses: “This is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He heareth us.” And I can remember when I was in high school and some of my friends came and they said their parents, you know, one had a mother that tried to commit suicide and wanted to do it again. And he asked me, he said, “Could we pray about her? Do you think God would actually answer our prayers?” And I was just a high school student. I was a Christian and he was just a new Christian. And I thought, ‘Man, this is tall cotton here. I mean, are we going to really… is this going to happen?’ And on the basis of these verses, we had enough courage to ask God, would He get involved in her life, and would He bring her to the Lord Jesus, first of all, so she’d get saved; and then secondly would God start to untangle these problems that made her so depressed? And we watched, and God did that. And I’ll tell you, when you have these real-life experiences, which I want to talk about more; when people say, you know, “Would God do this for me,” okay? The answer is yes. You’ve got to ask Him on the basis of the Word of God, be willing to obey Him, and then see what He does.
Now folks, stick with us. We’re going to talk more about this and how you use this in growing disciples inside of a group, alright, when we’ll come right back, so stick with us.

Ankerberg: Alright, we’re back. We’re talking about the practical aspects of making disciples. And we’re talking both about how you use the Bible in disciple-making, but we’re also now talking about prayer; what is the aspect of prayer in terms of making disciples?
And prayer is very exciting. God says He wants to answer prayer for us. Most of us, we don’t believe it, okay. We really think God will do it for somebody else. But either because of my background, or because of I don’t have that much information, or I don’t have much faith, we don’t even try and ask God to do stuff in our life. And, Robby, I think that people want to know, what should I pray for, and what would give me confidence to think that God would answer my prayers?
Gallaty: Yeah. Well, prayer should be summarized into three different areas. First of all, a believer should have a prayer life individually. That we should have a time where we get alone with the Lord; we turn the television off, we turn the cell phone off, we get alone with God, just us and God, hearing from the Lord, speaking to the Lord.
But also we should have a prayer time corporately, as we pray with the church. And we do that in the church. I’ve been in times when the Lord has pressed upon my heart, maybe with an illness or a health issue, that I would go to the church and say, “Would you corporately pray?”
But sometimes we miss the process and the need for praying in a group, in a discipleship group. I’ve got men in my group, even still to this day, that are my prayer partners. One in particular is a guy named Jody, who came into my life. And I thought I knew how to pray, and then I met him. And he’s one of…
Ankerberg: I know.
Gallaty: …these major prayer warriors, like the days of old. But he keeps me accountable. He’ll call me throughout the day and I’ll say, “Well, Jody, you don’t understand. I’m busy.” And he says, “We’ve got to pray.” And it’s good to do that. And he models that for me.
Ankerberg: I also think, Robby, that if people say, look, in reading the Word of God and praying, “Lord, if you show me something in the Word of God, I’ll obey it,” that Bible will really come alive. And then if you say, “Lord, if You open the door, if you show me what to do, if you make it available to me, the fact is, I will actually jump in; I’ll try to do it,” it is amazing how many opportunities God puts before you. If you ask God to give you people that you could start a conversation with about the Lord, I’m just telling you that they come out of nowhere. And they’re just there. And all of a sudden people will talk about their problems: “I had a person die,” or a kid was in trouble, and all of a sudden you realize God has brought that person and is opening the door for you to talk about how God can answer prayer in their life and how God can help them. Now, one of the questions we get to in talking about prayer is, how do we know the will of God for our life? How do we know we’re praying for the right stuff?
Gallaty: Yeah. People ask me that all the time. “Robby, what is the future will for my life?” They really are asking “Who should I marry?” “Where should I move?” “What kind of job should I have?” What I share with people is this: 95% of God’s will has already been revealed in His word, and so it’s that 5% that they’re asking about. And so let’s start with what we know. We know what God already wants us to do. And so it’s understanding the Word of God, then hearing it, and then obeying it and putting it into practice in our life.
But another way, and this is good about the discipleship process, one of the ways we can hear the will of God is through spiritual disciplines. And we’ve talked about them up to this point: We’ve talked about the value of the Word of God in the life of a believer. We’ve talked about the importance of Scripture memory. We’re talking about a prayer life now. When we begin to pray to God, and ask God, seek God, get alone with the Lord, He begins to reveal His will to us.
And I would say, more importantly, we already know one aspect of the will of God for our life. And that is in Matthew 28:18-20: “Go therefore and make disciples.” So if people are wondering, “What should I do? What does God want me to do?” you can start by making disciples.
Ankerberg: Yeah. I also like when we talked about what should you pray for, and knowing the will of God for your life. You ought to pray for yourself. It’s amazing how many prayers are offered for somebody else, but you never get around to praying for yourself. And when you’re in a discipleship group, you ought to listen to see if the guy is praying for you, for his family, for the job, for all this, but he’s not praying for himself. Because we’re all Dealing with Doubts sometimes, sometimes with depression, with fears, with possibilities, and we’re hesitating in terms of our steps. And we’re saying, “God give us strength for this. Give us wisdom for this.” Sometimes God gives you a job to do and you say, “Lord, I just…I haven’t got the ability to do this.” And God still leads you into it and God helps you to do it. You need to pray for yourself in terms of the temptations you face, and also in the things that you want to know from God. What other things hit your mind when you’re talking about this thing?
Gallaty: Well, I think you’re right on. You pray for the person who needs it the most, which is you. I mean, we need God’s guidance, we need God’s direction. And then you go out from the sphere of influence. You may begin to pray for your family, personal issues, financial issues, personal concerns. And then you may branch out to your church family, or people you know. Then you want to be sure to pray for missionaries who are serving the Lord overseas. Pray for our political leaders in the country. I always try to pray for them as well. We probably want to pray for people in our church, our pastors, the leaders in our church.
God is available. He wants to be involved in our life. But so often we go through life and we never ask Him to be a part of it. And I think that’s what prayer does. It says, “God, I need You. I’m dependent upon You. I love You. I want You to be a part of my life.”
Ankerberg: Yeah. I want to end this session with a personal illustration, okay. About four years ago I had to have open-heart surgery. I went from speaking at a conference to looking at open-heart surgery in like two days, okay. And the night before, I thought about, they’re going to cut my chest open and, the fact is, all the stuff that they’re going to do, and I might not make it. So the night before, I told the Lord, I said “I can’t do this. I don’t have the emotional strength to get through this. Unless You show up., I mean, I’m in big trouble. I don’t have the physical strength or the courage to do this.”
And I can remember the next morning when I woke up that I had the peace of God. It was almost like liquid, Robby. I mean, I woke up and I walked in there, it was like going out to lunch with somebody. I was joking with the nurses, and I laid down, and they wired me up and so on. And I had perfect peace. I mean, perfect peace, rolling into that. When I came out of it, I still had that perfect peace.
I’ve just dealt with a friend that went to be with the Lord. And he went through two years of cancer, and praying with him. I’ve got other friends who are, right now, suffering with extreme pain, or facing doubts. They don’t know about their future. I’m saying, look, when we are in those situations, I always think Jesus is our model. He went to the cross, and what He said was, “You know, Father, I’m not sure I can go through this. Is there something else You can have me do?” I mean, but He says “No, if it’s Your will, then help Me.” And I’ve looked at that. If Jesus asked for help, then we can ask for help. And I also can tell people that God shows up. The Holy Spirit helps you and gives you that strength.
So that’s just one of the things that we all need along the way. We’re all going to come to that spot where God’s going to take us to heaven. We all wonder how it’s going to happen. Whatever that process is, the Puritans used to say, “When you die, you get dying grace.” You don’t get that grace until you get there, but the fact is, when you get there, it’s going to be available to you. And I would just say, folks, our prayer life is so, so important in just living the Christian life.
Now, next week we want to turn the corner in terms of the practical things of discipling others. We’re going to talk about the surprises: when people confess sins that you never dreamt that they were in, okay. I’ve learned not to be shocked, because we are all sinful. And to me it’s a good sign when people confidentially will tell you about some of the things that are just absolutely snowing them, that are killing them in terms of their spiritual life; and how God can give them the victory when you have these discipleship opportunities. So, folks, I hope that you will join us next week when we talk about the problems, the surprises, that can come up when you disciple somebody else, and how to handle them.


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