Copyright © 2012 by Derek Leaf . Not to be copied for commercial purposes.  Permission is granted to copy the unaltered, attributed page for non commercial purposes.

If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. 2 Cor 5:17

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Investing in God’s people from life to life

These pages are designed to aid study or investigation for Christian discipleship through individual Bible study, Cell groups, Home groups, or meeting one to one.  The questions could be used alone allowing each person to use their own Bible.


Jesus’ commission to make disciples challenges all believers of each generation.  It demands for us to be disciples of Jesus and enable others to develop not only in their own discipleship but also their own disciple making ministry.

Helping people develop in disciple making requires that we back away from our situation and reflect on the overall ministry.  A good mentor can help us do this. In the Bible Jethro mentors Moses.  Jethro advises Moses to serve the needs of the people through others.  This method serves those who are mature, for it enables them to participate in ministry.  It serves those who are less mature for it gives opportunities of personal help in their own walk of faith.

A great challenge is to go beyond our own personal ministry.  We can be focused and busy with making of disciples, and fail to let other people grow to take on that role.

Bible Zone

Here is how Jethro coached Moses in this process.  Exodus 18:13-20 NIV.  There is an  illustration on the site called the Jethro Plan.

Process of making disciples - An environment of disciple making is formed.

The problem -The context for Jethro’s advice - overworked leader.

The start - focus on the Lord - Don’t forget the Lord, not a magic formular.

Responsibility of leader - Responsibility continues when delegated..

Making disciples -  Teach, show how, show the duties.

Developing Leaders - Who are the next generation of leaders to be?

Have them serve - Leadership development comes through opportunities to serve.

Fruit of discipling ministry.- Leader survives, people are satisfied.

Process of making disciple makers

Make disciples!  That is what Jesus commissioned us to do, but how do we go about it? The task seems enormous. We can become lost in the details.  This plan helps us see where we are going.  It provides hooks for details, and holds everything in place.

The Problem

Jethro was a brave man.  He was able to challenge Moses and help him realise that he had become the bottle neck to the ministry to the people.

What problem did Jethro focus on?

What symptom did Jethro identify to the bottle neck for ministry?

How does Moses’ answer focus on himself?

What bottle necks can you identify in your area of ministry?

 Exodus 18:13 The next day Moses took his seat to serve as judge for the people, and they stood around him from morning till evening. 14  When his father-in-law saw all that Moses was doing for the people, he said, "What is this you are doing for the people? Why do you alone sit as judge, while all these people stand around you from morning till evening?"  15 Moses answered him, "Because the people come to me to seek God's will. 16 Whenever they have a dispute, it is brought to me, and I decide between the parties and inform them of God's decrees and laws."   17 Moses' father-in-law replied, "What you are doing is not good. 18 You and these people who come to you will only wear yourselves out. The work is too heavy for you; you cannot handle it alone.

The Jethro Plan Illustration

The Start - Focus on God

The Lord is the  Lord of the harvest.  It is vital that we begin and end by looking to Him. It is amazing how often ministry becomes the focus in of itself.

What limitations does Jethro put on himself and his advice?

Who is the one who will make or break this process?

How do you see Jesus involving His Father in making disciples?

A suggestion - look at the language you use in ministry meetings and planning times.  How much is focused on people, how much on God?

Exodus 18: 18 ... Listen now to me and I will give you some advice, and may God be with you.

Responsibility of Leader

Even when ministry is delegated, the Lord sees the leader as responsible.  Many issues in ministry result from a failure to understand that the leader is answerable to God.

How is Moses to respond when people bring problems to him?

How is Moses to handle the weight of leadership?

How does Jesus remain as the leader?  How far did He entrust leadership to His new disciple makers when He left? (John 21:15-19)

When people in ministry come to you with issues, how ready are you to take those issues to God and put them at His feet?

Exodus 18: 19 ... You must be the people's representative before God and bring their disputes to him.

Making Disciples

The beginning of a ministry raising disciple makers must start at the basics with making disciples.  Jethro’s advice encourages this vital start point.

What are the three elements of ministry that Jethro suggests?

What is taught and what is shown?

How do you see this mix of teaching and showing in Jesus’ ministry?

Think about your ministry area.  

How could a young Christian be shown how to live?  

How could a young Christian be shown how to serve?

Exodus 18: 20 Teach them the decrees and laws, and show them the way to live and the duties they are to perform.

Developing Leaders

Who could serve as leaders?  The focus of selecting potential leaders is not on ourselves but on God, and so this is a spiritual selection.  When Jesus selected the twelve he went up a mountain and prayed all night.

We look to God for people who stand out in service with willing hearts. People who have responded to teaching and service by become disciples of Jesus Christ.  Leaders are not trained in class rooms.  What roles could be given to people to develop leadership?

Leadership requires character.  What does Jethro look for in new leaders?

What do these criteria say about a person’s view of God?

How did Jesus select a few?  What role were they selected for?

What would you be looking for in people that would be appropriate to the roles they could serve in?  A limited context is a proving ground for further responsibility.

Exodus 18: 21 But select capable men from all the people—men who fear God, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain—and appoint them as officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens

Have them Serve

The focus of ministry is twofold.  Service to people and Lifting people to God.  The role of a judge in the old Testament, especially in the book of Judges was a leader who would bring people to God.

How could one identify whether ministry is done out of service or to build up the leader?

Notice how Moses was to continue having personal contact with the judges.  This is a mentor type situation.  How could Moses develop the judges?

How did Jesus have His disciples serve and minister?

Notice the development of a judge from being able to handle the simple.  How could you in a ministry situation develop people from simple responsibilities to more difficult?

Exodus 18: 22 Have them serve as judges for the people at all times, but have them bring every difficult case to you; the simple cases they can decide themselves. That will make your load lighter, because they will share it with you.

Fruit of Disciple Making Ministry

Disciple making has a great aim and bares good fruit.

What fruit can be seen here of this sharing out of ministry?

How do you see the fruit of Jesus’ disciple making compared to His public ministry?

How would this fruit influence your area of ministry?

Notice the need for God to be in this.  What would the outcome be if God did not so command?

Exodus 18: 22 That will make your load lighter, because they will share it with you. 23 If you do this and God so commands, you will be able to stand the strain, and all these people will go home satisfied."