The Life of a Disciple Maker

by Joel Owen - Lead Pastor | Grace Fellowship Church, Kingsport, TN

The Life of a Disciple-Maker: Making Sacrifices to Invest in Others

While on a business trip overseas my Mom once had a desire to purchase a dress from the country my parents were visiting. After not being able to find anything she liked, on the final day of the trip, and in a rush to get to the airport, she finally found a dress that suited her tastes. In her rush to purchase it and get to the airport she paid for the dress and loaded up for the trip home. While on the plane home she told my Dad about the purchase and his question was the same most men would ask: “What did it cost?” She hadn’t really taken the time to figure it out because she was in a hurry. My Dad took the receipt and did the calculations adding in the currency exchange rate and found that Mom’s souvenir dress totaled nearly $1,000.00 U.S.  Dollars! He nearly brought the plane down!

When it comes to following Jesus and making disciples, most Christians would agree that is what they have been instructed to do by Jesus. However, when people learn what it’s going to cost them to make disciples, their passion often fades. Making disciples will come at great personal cost in the way you invest your time, talents and treasures. Everyone wants to be associated with Jesus; very few want to make the sacrifices necessary to disciple others.

A man once came to Jesus and asked what he had to do to inherit eternal life. Jesus talked about keeping the commands of God and it made the young man happy, because he thought he had done that nearly flawlessly! Then Jesus took a sharp right turn with the man and told him the only thing he lacked was going and selling all his possessions to the poor. After doing that, he could follow Jesus. Unfortunately, the man went away with his head hung low because he had great wealth and couldn’t fathom letting it go.  (Taken from Mark 10:17-22) Here’s what I find interesting about the passage: the man wasn’t willing to sacrifice his earthly wealth, all the while he was standing face to face with the one who left the glory of heaven to walk among men and build His Kingdom by making disciples. Jesus knew what it took to make sacrifices to fulfill his mission.

What is Jesus asking you to give up or reprioritize to become a fully committed disciple-maker?

In order to disciple men in my church I have had to give up some sleep with early mornings or late night meetings! Making disciples has cost me financially in different seasons. Since disciple making is only achieved through authentic relationship, I have had to sacrifice by letting my faults and sins be known with other men in our church. They get to see the real me, even when that person doesn’t look like what they think their pastor should look like!

When we look at Jesus we see a servant who was willing to make sacrifices in order to make disciples. Can you imagine God in flesh sleeping on the ground around a campfire when heaven probably offers the best sleep comfort bed ever? Can you picture God in flesh eating whatever the disciples caught out of the Sea of Galilee knowing that He will one day serve a wedding feast for the entire world? Can you envision the sinless Son of God being challenged by self-righteous spiritual leaders when angels and galaxies bow to His every word? And can you fathom that God in flesh would make the ultimate sacrifice of spilling His blood on a Roman cross to pay for our sins?

As for counting the cost of the purchase my Mom made- she wore that dress to church almost every Sunday for a year! She definitely got her value out of that purchase!

As for following Jesus, it will mean we count the cost of being a disciple and making disciples while coming to the realization that whatever we are called to sacrifice for the Kingdom will be worth it as we carry out His mission!


Joel Owen, Lead Pastor
Grace Fellowship Church
Kingsport, TN