Billy is having trouble in math class so his parents hire a personal tutor. They know that individual attention will be more effective than group instruction. Discipleship is the same way. To be effective, it requires intensity that cannot be found in large crowds. Disciples must have the undivided attention of their disciple-makers.
Part of the genius of discipleship is the fact that is combines progress with accountability. Large crowds may be moved by a sermon, but have no accountability to encourage life-change. Discipleship affords both.
Discipleship cannot be rushed or “mass produced.” It will cost you an enormous amount of time and energy.
Although the crowds were eager to follow Him everywhere, Christ would often getaway with the twelve –not because He didn’t care about the crowds, but because His strategy was to reach them through the multiplication of the few disciples He was concentrating on. Jesus intentionally chose to spend more time with less people. He concentrated His discipleship on a few knowing that they would be the ones to reach the multitudes. Likewise, we must disciple a few in order to disciple the world.
Because intentional discipleship is concentrated, relationships are everything. You must spend time with your disciple in order to influence them. Invite them to eat with you, run errands with you, or watch a ballgame with you. One of the best ways to connect is to ask your disciple to teach you a skill or hobby they enjoy. Discipleship is not limited to an hour meeting per week. It is an unending lifestyle.
As an example, parents hold the most influence over their children -more than any book, lecture, or television program. Even without realizing it, children pick up subtle characteristics that will stick with them for life. Why? Because of the shear amount of time spent together. Learning through lecture is good, learning through discussion is better, but learning by experience is best. -So on behalf of your disciple(s), attention please!