Make Disciples With The “3-2-1” Lifestyle

Too busy to make disciples?

One obstacle I’ve encountered when it comes to making disciples or doing Muslim ministry is being too busy.

With commitments for work, school, family, friends, and church, you may find that your margins are pretty thin.

But being busy doesn’t mean you can’t be an effective disciple-maker. You just have to be strategic with your time.

That’s where the 3-2-1 Lifestyle comes in.

The 3-2-1 Lifestyle is a weekly framework for disciple-making. It’s a baseline, or foundation, that helps put you in a position to be effective in ministry.

It’s made up of the following components:

●     3 hours with God

●     2 hours with non-believers

●     1 hour in prayer with others

It may not look like much, but when applied consistently over time, this weekly rhythm can prove to be incredibly effective.

Here’s a look at each component.

3 Hours Per Week with God

a woman sitting on a mountain and looking at the scenery

The first component is 3 hours per week with God.

This is all about connecting with God and abiding in Him.

An easy way to break it down is 30 minutes a day, 6 days a week. That’ll give you 3 hours.

I could say spending time with God will help you be a good disciplemaker, but to be honest, it’s just good in general!

God is the source of life — He’s the thing that sustains us.

Whether we’re actively trying to make disciples or not, we should be spending time with God.

What if you’re too busy to spend time with God?

That being said, I know spending time with the Lord can be challenging for various reasons.

There can be busyness and distractions. There can even be times when we don’t feel like we’re getting much out of our time with God. At least that’s been my experience.

If you’re in one of those seasons, a good first step may be asking,

“How do I best connect with God?”

God has created us differently, so what works for someone else may not work for you. Take some time to experiment and see what works for you.

It could be reading, praying, singing, taking a walk, or a combination of these things.

No matter what you end up doing, remember that the point is to regularly connect with our Father and abide in Him.

2 Hours Per Week with Non-Believers

men sitting at a table and talking

The second component is 2 hours per week with non-believers.

The longer you’ve been a follower of Christ, the less non-believing friends you’re likely to have.

That’s why it’s important to set aside time to either meet or be with non-believers — especially time where you’re intentional about working towards spiritual conversations.

A key point here is to be intentional with this time. It’s more than just hanging out.

There’s no hard and fast rule, but at the end of the day, the goal is to get to spiritual matters.

If you want to meet people, you could:

  • go prayer walking
  • join a club
  • play in a sports league
  • etc.

And if you already know non-believers, invite them to hang out with you!

Pro-tip: Plan ahead if you have to

As an introvert, my natural leaning is to spend time at home. Or if I do see people, it’s just a few close friends.

It’s kind of like the natural pull of gravity for me.

If I’m not thinking about it, my default plans are to stay at home or spend time with the same few people.

To get ahead of this, my wife and I sit down once a week and try to intentionally plan out who we want to spend time with.

If we want to spend time with non-believing Americans, we might invite them ahead of time to get dinner somewhere.

And if they’re Muslims (who prefer to be more spontaneous) we may schedule time in our week to try and “drop by” their place.

These plans don’t always come to fruition — especially if the people we reach out to are busy, or if our Muslim friends aren’t home — but the act of planning keeps us consistent.

This can be a helpful method for busy people as well.

By planning ahead and getting something on your calendar, you’re more likely to follow through once the week gets going.

1 Hour Per Week in Prayer with Others

women praying together

The third, and final, component is 1 hour per week in prayer with others.

When it comes to making disciples, praying together for your non-believing friends and for your community is crucial for two reasons:

  1. Prayer makes things happen in the spiritual realm
  2. Corporate prayer helps maintain momentum

Prayer is the real work behind making disciples

It’s no secret that God is the one who draws people to Himself.

He’s the one that does the spiritual heavy-lifting in the lives of our friends and creates an openness when we bring up spiritual topics.

Praying is a way of acknowledging our dependence on Him, as well as a way of joining Him in that work.

Prayer maintains momentum to make disciples

Building up and maintaining a 3-2-1 Lifestyle requires some effort, so having others with you in that journey can be immensely helpful!

It’s inevitable that you’re going to have “off” weeks where you don’t spend time with God or don’t spend time with non-believers.

That’s totally fine. Remember, the goal is consistency over time.

Having others around you will help prevent those “off” weeks from becoming full stops.

Meeting once or twice a week to pray together is a great way to check-in with each other and maintain the momentum you’ve been building.

It also helps create a sense of shared ownership in the vision you have for your community.

The End Goal: A New Rhythm of Making Disciples

Over time, the hope is that the 3-2-1 Lifestyle will become a normal rhythm, or a new default, for how you make disciples.

But if you find yourself cruising along with this new rhythm, don’t stop!

Continue growing deeper with God, spending more time with non-believers, and pressing into the depths of prayer.

It’s a life-long journey, so keep growing and building on that foundation!