By Maggie Walsh
The Alabama Baptist
There’s a lot out there that’s not true discipleship. Malachi Gandy has seen it, he’s heard it and he’s been a part of it. But he wants others to learn from his experiences.
A few years ago Gandy, a member of Bush Memorial Baptist Church, Troy, and co-owner of Deloney & Gandy Timber Inc., was challenged by his pastor to dig into what it means to be a disciple of Christ who then goes out and makes disciples.
To figure out how to go about that, he looked to the Gospels.
“Jesus taught His followers,” Gandy said in his theme interpretation sermon Nov. 15. “He walked through life with them.”
The whole idea of investing in someone’s life and being intentional about being in their life comes from Jesus’ example, he said.
“Before His ascension we see Jesus give the command for His disciples to go and make disciples,” Gandy said. And we see in Acts 2 when 3,000 people were saved on the Day of Pentecost that Jesus’ investment in the lives of His disciples bore fruit.
Verse 46 says, “Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts.”
This verse is key, Gandy said, because true discipleship “isn’t a week-by-week thing.”
This isn’t a short-term, eight or 10-week commitment, Gandy said. He calls that model “cultural discipleship.”
Instead, true discipleship is daily.
“I look at what Jesus’ example was in the Bible and I look at how He invested in people’s lives and how we see Him calling them to ministry and doing ministry and we see how He served them … and I see Him investing in (His disciples for) three years. And I look at that and I say, ‘Man that looks exhausting.’”
But that is healthy disciple making that takes concerted effort and perseverance, he said.
So how do we go from “cultural disciple making” to “actually biblically making disciples”?
“We never forget why we make disciples,” Gandy said, emphasizing the importance of reading God’s Word and speaking it aloud to yourself until the truth of it penetrates your heart.
“And we have to never forget who makes the disciple.”
Jesus is the Vine, the source of anything good within us who are the branches, Gandy said, referring to John 15.
The “fruit” in verse 5 refers to “any fruit that [comes from] complete dependence upon Jesus Christ and persevering prayer in Jesus’ name.”
“The most lasting fruit we could ever bear is a follower of Jesus Christ because that is for eternity.”
And abiding in Christ every day is the only way to produce fruit that lasts. Practically speaking, that looks like “going to God as your source,” Gandy said. Only when God is the source of your joy, your service, your perseverance can you turn to others and give of yourself sacrificially and consistently. And that impacts missions, commitment levels, ministries, giving — every aspect of church life.
“Stick to what Jesus told us to do,” he encouraged. “Just make disciples.”
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