Discipleship in a nut shell is most often one-on-one (for Jesus it was often 1-on-3), life on life relationship where Christ Jesus is the very center and focus of the relationship. These relationships can be short term or long term is depends on what God is doing in and through the relationship. I personally have a long term relationship where three men are pouring into me regularly, that is I am their "Timothy." If you are interested in reading a short book about disciplemaking, John R. Kimball has put one together. We have several in the library, so help yourself. I happily encourage everyone to read it.
Biblical Understanding of Discipleship with a Timothy and a Barnabas perspective
Affective Timothy type relationship (disciplemaking) and Barnabas type relationship (encouraging) happen when we are in a Biblical Relationship.
Jesus demonstrated the model for disciplemaking, which has been called the rabbinical way or model (Meet the Rabbis, Brad H. Young).
Jesus had 72 he equipped and sent out … Luke 10:1-20
Jesus had twelve he purposefully chose to develop more…shown throughout the Gospels, Luke 9:1-6
Jesus had 3 He singled out and poured into… Matthew 26:36-38; Mark 5:37-39; Mark 9:2; Luke 5:8-11
Jesus himself poured into Paul (Galatians 1:12) as well, showing Paul the true rabbinical model of discipleship; which by the way was the way Paul was mentored to be a Pharisee.
Who poured into Peter, James, John, and even Paul?
Who did Paul pour into? John Mark (for a short time), Timothy, Barnabas, Silas, Epaphroditus (Philippians 2:25) …
2 Timothy 2:1-2 Timothy, my dear son, be strong through the grace that God gives you in Christ Jesus. You have heard me teach things that have been confirmed by many reliable witnesses. Now teach these truths to other trustworthy people who will be able to pass them on to others.
Acts 4:36-37 For instance, there was Joseph, the one the apostles nicknamed Barnabas (which means "Son of Encouragement"). He was from the tribe of Levi and came from the island of Cyprus. He sold a field he owned and brought the money to the apostles.
Other Scriptures… Acts 9:27; Acts 11-15
There are those who are full of encouragement and they come along to support us. They may or may not be in discipleship relationship with you. They most likely are those outside of our sphere of influence who lift you up and lighten the day when they are around. I have several of “Barnabi” in my life.
Then there is the arrow point down, the someone(s), Timothy, that you are in relationship with for the major purpose of discipling in the faith.
The major focus of this relationship is to work together so that he/she can then work with someone else who works with someone else… 2 Timothy 2:1-2
I believe that if we are going to pour into someone, a Timothy, we need someone pouring into us (I can only give what I have). We cannot give what we do not have.
Being a Paul, a Barnabas, and even a Timothy requires one to be intentional in the relationship. The absolute most important thing we must always remember, that Jesus must be in the center of ever disciple-making relationship. Jesus’ Way of life is the example we learn and model as His followers. I pray you are encouraged as you spend time seeking God's heart for who He would have disciple you and who you might disciple.