Paul is often considered one of the most successful missionaries to ever live, and there is a lot we can learn from how he disciple others. I decided to research more to figure out what Paul’s discipleship model was. What was Paul’s discipleship model? Paul’s discipleship model is how he planted churches in various cities during his time. In his ministry, there were ten key elements that contributed to effective discipleship, his teachings, relationships, prayer, suffering, goals, example, team, time, trust, and the power of God through him. Together, all of these things contribute to one of the most influential discipleship strategies in history.
By examining Paul’s model for discipleship we can look for ways to improve our own process and begin to see the dramatic change that Paul did. Paul, through the Holy Spirit, accomplished a lot in his lifetime, and if we can understand how we can apply those methods to our own discipleship practices.
For an even deeper dive into discipleship, check out this enrichment course called, The Art of Discipleship, for more information. There are some model points of Paul that founded in:
(1) Paul’s Teachings: Paul did not simply lay out a list of do’s and don’ts but truly took the time to teach them what honored God, how Jesus lived his life, and how it applied to them.
(2) Building Strong Relationships: Relationships are super important to his model and in 1 Thessalonians we can see how much he cared for the church there. He describes their relationship as similar to that of a parent raising their child.
(3) Persistent Prayer: Prayer is an important part of any ministry and Paul’s is no different. Many of his letters express a theme of consistent prayer for the people and direction for them to pray consistently as well.
(4) Be Open About Suffering: He was stoned, beaten, and thrown in prison multiple times throughout his ministry yet remained steadfast in his faith.
(5) Paul’s Goal for His Disciples: Paul’s method does not show this aimless attitude. Paul had the vision to see the churches that he ministered to become fully devoted to the cause of Christ and begin to expand on their own.
(6) An Example Worth Following: Paul was so confident in the work Jesus was doing in his life that he encouraged his disciples that if they weren’t sure what it meant to follow Jesus, they should follow his example and he would follow Jesus (1 Corinthians 11:1).
(7) Paul’s Ministry Team: Today’s culture promotes an extreme emphasis on individual accomplishments, however, this was far from Paul’s mind. He relied heavily on his co-workers throughout his ministry and took little credit for his own achievements.
(8) Intentional Time: The important aspect of Paul’s ministry is the time he dedicated to his ministry in each place he went to. 1 Thessalonians talks about how Paul worked day and night so that he would not be a burden to other people and also preach the Gospel among them.
(9) The Power of God in Paul’s Ministry: God’s power is perhaps the most important aspect of Paul’s discipleship model. Without it, Paul’s work would mean nothing, for it was the work of Paul. However, when God works through us, then we know that we are doing his will.
(10) Let the Holy Spirit Work: Paul didn’t leave the entire burden of disciplining these churches all on himself. He trusted in the power of the Holy Spirit to continue to guide the people and be at work even when he wasn’t. This is a very important lesson to learn from Paul’s method.
It encourages you to go and read through Paul’s letters, Romans, 1 & 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 & 2 Thessalonians, 1 & 2 Timothy, Titus, and Philemon, and continue to learn from the discipleship model and apply it to your own discipleship journey.