Paul was born in Tarsus but was raised in Jerusalem under a strict Jewish training by his mentor and renowned teacher of the law, Gamaliel (Acts 22:3). Paul had a great understanding of what it meant to be a disciple and have a mentor. He became fanatical towards God and the law. His enthusiasm to please the Father lead him to beat, imprison, and murder followers of Jesus Christ (Acts 22:4,19,20).
After Paul’s conversion, his methods changed. His passion became to preach, teach, and disciple every man in all wisdom, in order to present every man perfect or spiritually mature in Christ (Colossians 1:28). He did not only evangelize. The majority of his ministry was spent training future pastors and missionaries. He personally taught people how to behave in their daily walk with the Lord. He wanted the believers to be unified in their faith and knowledge of Jesus so as not to be deceived by false doctrine taught by others. He taught his disciples to speak the truth to each other in love as one body of believers. Speaking the truth in a loving manner edifies your fellow believers.
Paul was a father figure to everyone that he trained in the ministry. He wanted the best for them. He told the believers in Corinth that in Christ he had begotten them through the gospel (1 Corinthians 4:15). He was a daddy to them. In Galatians, Paul refers to his “little children” who give him labor pains until Christ is formed in them. He references all the stages of life: birth, infancy, childhood, adolescence, adulthood.
The greatest father-son relationship we see in the life of Paul is his relationship with Timothy. In Paul’s letters to Timothy, he calls him his “own son in the faith” and his “dearly beloved son.” In Philippians chapter 2, Paul says he will send the church Timothy to care for them because he had no other “man likeminded” who would naturally care for them like Timothy would. Timothy didn’t seek his own like everyone else. Paul stated that Timothy “as a son with the father” had served well with him in the gospel ministry. Paul’s infectious heart to serve God became Timothy’s desire and life as well. Paul had modeled his love for Christ well in front of his beloved son in the faith, Timothy. The last book of the Bible Paul wrote was his second letter written to Timothy. Paul let him know he would soon have to die and he needed Timothy to keep the ministry going strong.
We can learn a lot from the methods of discipleship in the life of Paul. We should realized and practice discipleship as a life on life experience, not just a bunch of lessons in a discipleship book. We should invest in the lives of our disciples as we do with our own family. We need to give our time and efforts to train believers up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord and send them out all over the world as arrows in the hand of a mighty man. Our churches should be like busy airports that keep people for awhile but then send them out all over the world. Our focus should be on the whole world, not just our church and community. I want to encourage you to make a huge impact in another fellow Christian’s life. Teach them. Train them. Hurt when they hurt. Encourage them. Pray with them. Give them small jobs to do around your church. Just maybe one day you can send them out to into the Lord’s harvest.