Sometimes we think that making disciples is a complicated endeavor. In reality, it can be fairly simple. Keith and Kate Pepsny pioneered a Navigator ministry at Oregon State University in Corvallis, Oregon, and are now directing a new ministry at the University of Washington in Seattle, Washington. Keith recently shared a bit about how simple it can be to make disciples.
When I was in the eighth grade, a fellow named Doug began investing in my life. It was simple. He’d invite me to his house and we’d have dinner with his family, and once a week we’d do a simple Bible study together.
Years later I have the privilege of doing the same thing with college students in the Pacific Northwest. At Oregon State University I met a student named Justin—a very ambitious guy and although he wasn’t a follower of Jesus, he wanted to invest in the life of someone else, so he volunteered at the local Boys and Girls Club.
One day over coffee I told him that what he was doing was really great. Then I told him about an old proverb that said, “He who walks with wise men will be wise . . .” (Proverbs 13:20, NASB). I confided that I was always looking for someone in whom I can invest my life—as well as for someone who will invest in me. In fact, I had been specifically praying that God would “give me people out of the world” (John 17:6).
The next morning he told me, “You know that Proverbs thing? I want someone to help me and invest in me!” So I did three simple things with Justin, and they are things that anybody can do—Life, Word and Prayer.
I spent time with Justin. We’d play basketball and I’d invite him to the house, and we’d have meals together. I simply spent time with him building a relationship.
Then—even though he wasn’t following Jesus, yet—I’d occasionally share a nugget from God’s Word—knowing that it would not return to Him empty (Isaiah 55:10).
But I was most passionate about praying for Justin. I didn’t want him to just love or trust me—I knew it was important that he trust in Jesus. So I’d ask him what I could pray about for him and then do it—even though he had little concept of what prayer was all about.
When Justin came to faith in Christ he immediately began to focus on those same three things with his fraternity brothers. He’d hang out with them, expose them to God’s Word, and ask them what he could pray about for them. It was that simple.
I finally asked him, “How do you know how to do this?” He responded, “Keith, you’ve been doing this with me for the last couple of years!” Now that he’s living and working in New York, Justin is still passionate about helping others. When he sees the guys he used to minister with at Oregon State University, he still asks them, “Who are you influencing?”
It’s so simple.