28 August 2014


By John Ollis


During my teen years, and then 2 Bible Colleges, I cannot remember any teaching (that challenged me) about Discipleship/Mentoring, I guess there must have been some, but it had no effect on me,

I somehow  knew as a young man I needed to come alongside young Christians and help them in their walk with the Lord. Not that I had my spiritual act together but something drove me (I now believe it was the Lord). Margaret said when I was invited to join the faculty of C.B.C. after 22 years of Pastoral Ministry,” I always knew you would end up full time working with young people”.

So in those 22 years of Pastoral Ministry I bumbled along, trying to disciple people. Even with my poor effort there are many in the ministry today, and many others who rose to local church leadership because of my efforts.

Sadly, I could list many people who are not in Christian fellowship today, because there was never any specific discipling that took place in their life. There are many others sitting in church “hoping” they are in the Kingdom of God.  Discipling I now see begins the moment the seeker prays the Sinner’s Prayer, it is the Discipler’s responsibility to see that the seed of God’s Word has entered the person’s heart and they are truly born again.

The turning point in my life was in the early 1980’s when I attended a Conference in Melbourne and heard Ps. Frank Damazio teach from John 21: 15-17. Jesus commissioned Peter 3 times to Feed God’s lambs and sheep, and the word Jesus uses in v.15 & 17 for feed is Bosko. The etymology of word changed my life. It is the picture of the shepherd going through the wool looking for the cuts, scratches and rubbish that is caught up in the wool and the shepherd is so close to the sheep that the smell of the sheep is on the shepherd. This confirmed in my heart for the first time, that there MUST be a one on one component to Discipling, that a New Christians Class is simply NOT enough. We bring a lot of cuts and bruises and rubbish with us when we are born again. A new Christian can “hide” in a class, and not be totally honest. it is much harder in a one to one situation to be dishonest.

I need to say now, that in every generation there comes a fresh emphasis on Discipleship, and sadly often extremes take place, and so the reaction is we  back off, and don’t do it right. Let us recognise the extremes but not “throw the baby our with the dirty bathwater.

The Discipler needs to build a bridge of friendship and trust with the new Christian, and be very wise in their interaction. You know I teach new Christians “the 8 essential ingredients in prayer”, my experience is that within 4-6 weeks of regular discipling the new believer is growing in intimacy with the Lord, then you can monitor from some distance.

Discipleship is a lifetime experience, the emphasis will change to include Mentoring which is training  for leadership, but never forgetting is will always be about BEING and not simply DOING.

There are many aspects of Discipleship that can be taught in a class e.g. Water Baptism, Holy Communion etc. and again in Mentoring. In my last church (ancient history) we had a Timothy Class and taught and trained the men.

Many of you have heard much of the above before, but it is a truth that needs to be repeated OVER AND OVER AGAIN.  discipling  is hard work, but the rewards in seeing quality disciples, is worth the effort.

I do not know how long in years I have left, I so want to reproduce myself and see many more Disciplemakers raised up. I was encouraged when a young Christian Lawyer contacted me recently and said he was discipling  the youth in his church.

I guess my heart’s desire is to see a fulltime ministry get the revelation and run with it.I have always seen the need of accountability, and have mentors in my life to keep me balanced and focused.

Will you accept the challenge, and start Bosko ministry with new Christians. If you are a full time ministry are you willing to pray and consider making Disciping and Mentoring a major part of your ministry.

Let me hear from you, I trust this blog is a blessing to you.