Discipleship is a tricky bird. There is no science or formula to successful discipleship. Some people learn well by reading and example, some people learn well by trial and error, some people like a class room or big group setting while others prefer one-on-one interaction. Jesus made eleven disciples by living life with them day in and out for roughly three years. He showed the examples, He taught them out of Scripture, He let them try and fail, and try and succeed. Jesus gave them the full gamut to learn and absorb what He was teaching them.
What is the Spiritual life in a nutshell? It is enjoying God and obeying Him in order to bring glory to Him. It is fighting the flesh. It is dying to sin. It is seeking to know God and be more like Him.
Discipleship is helping someone in their sanctification process, and since everyone learns and grows differently, you cannot put together a model and try to force everyone through the same plan or system. It is, at the core, changing the heart, loving God and being transformed from the inside out. And Jesus commands all Christians to make disciples. So how does someone who is an introvert and does not feel gifted to teach make disciples?
There are many ways. First of all, discipleship does not have to be a one-man-show. It can be a group of three or four guys getting together and studying the Scripture and holding each other accountable. Secondly, it does not always have to be someone teaching theology. (Studying theology is of infinite value, and we must learn how to read the Bible and understand doctrine…) You do not have to be able to defend the major and minor attributes of God by reference in order to make a disciple, you only have to be able to verbalize how you interact with God, how you study the Bible and how you fight sin in your life. The younger believer can then apply habits that will work in his life, and you can hold each other accountable on those disciplines.
Introverts are those people who get drained interacting with other people and need quiet time to recharge. There can be outgoing introverts, but they are people who tend to need more quiet time than others. Not being a “people person” is not an excuse to not be active about making disciples. It will lead such a one to a point of prioritizing his life so that he has time and energy to pour into other people. But more often then not, discipleship is life on life, and it is every-day interaction, not a prepared lecture-type setting. It can be that for people who learn best like that, but for the introvert, you can just take the new believer along with you as you live life and teach them as you handle daily situations how Jesus would handle them.
God has given us each unique gifts and abilities that allow us to obey the command to make disciples. You might not be a theologian or a teacher. But you also might not be a socialite. Use the the skills and personality strengths that God has given you to pour into those around you and make disciples!
“And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.”
– Eph 4.11-13