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Bullseye Discipleship - Proximity

by Chuck Wood

We think disciples living within 10 minutes of the disciple-maker is hitting the bullseye in discipleship. Wow again! You may as well live with the disciple-maker! Yes, that’s an option but keep reading. You are going to need a buddy to read this blog post. I suggest the person you are discipling in order to get more time with them.

Stand face to face and you both put your hand in the air.

Now the disciple-maker instructs the disciple to follow her hand. If she raises her hand, the disciple raises her hand. If she moves it side to side, the disciple moves her hand side to side with her.

Now the disciple-maker instructs her to close her eyes and try to follow her hand. Obviously, she cannot. The point; you cannot follow what you cannot see. One of the strongest benefits of proximity is being able to model.

Now the disciple-maker instructs the disciple to open her eyes and follow her hand. The disciple-maker starts moving her hand. First slowly and then faster. At first, it is quite easy to follow her hand. But as she speeds up, it will become more and more difficult for her to imitate the disciple-maker.

Now they put their hands together and interlock their fingers. The disciple-maker instructs the disciple to follow her hand. Of course, it’s much easier because they have locked their hands together. This illustrates the power of proximity.

Jesus did this with His disciples.

And He appointed twelve, so that they would be with Him and that He could send them out to preach… (Mark 3.14)

We call this the “With Him” principle. Jesus, the Master Disciple-Maker, leveraged the power of proximity. The closer a disciple gets to the disciple-maker, the easier it is for the disciple to follow the disciple-maker. (Watch the video for further explanation)

How does this apply to you as a mentor? Well, we have found the closer a person lives to the disciple-maker, the more time they get and the more effective the discipleship.

Generally speaking, if the disciple lives within 10 minutes of the disciple-maker they will spend quite a bit more time together. You can usually get three to four touches a week.

If a disciple lives 20 minutes away, it’s probably two to three touches a week.  If it’s 30 minutes its probably one or two touches. At 40 minutes the disciple might as well live in a different state! Deb and I have found that these times are consistent with the number of touches that we get with the people that we are discipling.

Carter and Hannah in OKC wanted to reach a particular set of apartments with the gospel so they intentionally moved into the complex. The men and women they were discipling joined them. Not only did they share the gospel with everyone in the complex, but they also got a boatload of time with the folks they were mentoring. The principle of proximity is too powerful to ignore.

Call to Action: How far do you live from the people you are discipling or being discipled by. Is there any way to get closer?

A Blast From the Past: Choosing the 12


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