Disciple Making Secrets

Overcoming 4 Common Obstacles in Disciple Making Movements

The great thing about making disciples is that it's so easy. When the DNA of multiplication is present in every believer, the move of God sweeps through an entire population like a rushing wind! But, even though making disciples is super easy, it's also kind of difficult.

... Have we lost you, yet?

Every disciple-making effort faces obstacles. Whether they are our own weaknesses, push-back from the world, or the devil himself, overcoming these challenges is crucial for the success and growth of a Disciple Making Movement (DMM). Here’s how to tackle some of the most common obstacles you might encounter.

1. Fear of Rejection

One of the most significant obstacles in disciple making is the fear of rejection. Many people hesitate to share their faith because they worry about being rejected or ridiculed. So, does that mean if you experience fear then you're not cut out for disciple making? Of course not! Fear is a completely human emotion that we all experience. That is why God gave us many ways to deal with it. Here are just a few of those ways:

  • Focus on God’s Promises: Remind yourself of God’s promises and the eternal impact of sharing the gospel. Scriptures like Matthew 28:20, where Jesus assures His presence, can be very comforting.
  • Develop Resilience: Understand that rejection is part of the process. The early disciples faced rejection but continued their mission. Learning to handle rejection with grace is crucial.
  • Supportive Community: Being part of a disciple making community can bolster your confidence. Share experiences, pray for one another, and encourage each other to persist despite setbacks.

2. Lack of Commitment

Lack of commitment among believers is another common challenge. Some may show initial enthusiasm but fail to remain committed to the disciple making process. But if you find yourself feeling increasingly isolated as more and more people drift away, don't be discouraged. After all, even Jesus was rejected by every one of His disciples. That doesn't mean, however, that a waning commitment within those making disciples alongside you is not a serious challenge that needs to be addressed. But you can address it in a number of ways...

  • Build Strong Relationships: Invest in building strong, personal relationships with believers, both new and old. Some disciple makers get so focused on the task at hand that they forget to do this, but genuine relationships foster trust and commitment.
  • Encourage Accountability: Create a culture of accountability where members regularly check in on each other’s progress. A great way to do this is to never forget to ask the question, "how did you put into practice what we learned last week?" each time you meet for a Discovery Bible Study.
  • Provide Ongoing Support: Offer continuous support and resources. The best disciple makers meet with people outside of official meetings in order to help them figure out how to be a disciple of Jesus in every day life. It might also be helpful to get into a regular rhythm of meeting a few times a year for a retreat or to go through resources like the Waha Disciple Making Course in order to re-up everyone's commitment.

Focusing on relationships, accountability, and ongoing support, you can help believers stay committed and actively engaged in disciple making.

3. Cultural Barriers

Have you ever noticed that the last time the word "disciple" appears in the New Testament is Acts 21, and it is never seen again after that? Does that mean disciple making is less important?

Of course not!

The reason the word disciple vanishes from the New Testament is because it was a Hebrew concept, and much of the rest of the New Testament is written to Greeks. The concept of disciple making is still front and center, but Paul and his companions just use other, more culturally familiar concepts to describe what it is, like a soldier, an athlete, or a farmer. Cultural differences can pose significant challenges in disciple making. Here are some tipes to avoid misunderstandings:

  • Do Your Research!: Educate yourself and your team about the cultural context of your target group. Understanding their customs, language, and values is crucial.
  • Adapt Your Approach: Be willing to adapt your methods to fit the cultural context. This might mean using different illustrations, stories, or practices that resonate with the local culture.
  • Build Local Partnerships: Collaborate with local believers who understand the culture. They can provide valuable insights and help bridge cultural gaps.

4. Spiritual Opposition

If someone broke into your house and stole your stuff, would you just sit there and let them take everything? Surely, you'd try to stop them. But what if you were also a dangerous criminal who had done great harm to others in order to steal all that stuff for yourself in the first place?

You would probably fight back, and it wouldn't be pretty.

That's how the enemy feels. From his point of view, he has done a lot of horrible things to snatch people away from God. He thinks the nations are his and he's not interested in letting them go without a fight. Spiritual opposition is a reality in disciple making. The enemy often works against efforts to spread the gospel and make disciples. So let's do the following to stand on Christ's victory over darkness as we make disciples:

  • Fervent Prayer: Engage in regular, fervent prayer for protection, wisdom, and strength. Ephesians 6:12-18 highlights the importance of spiritual armor.
  • Spiritual Warfare Training: Equip yourself and your team with knowledge about spiritual warfare. Understanding the nature of spiritual battles helps in resisting and overcoming them.
  • Community Support: Surround yourself with a community of believers who can offer support, prayer, and encouragement during spiritual battles.


Overcoming obstacles in disciple making requires faith, strategy, and perseverance. By addressing the fear of rejection, lack of commitment, cultural barriers, and spiritual opposition, you can stay on track toward a successful Disciple Making Movement. Each challenge presents an opportunity to grow stronger in your faith and more effective in your mission.

Waha is here to help. If you and a group of like-minded believers are interested in seeing God move among your community, there is no time like the present to go through the Disciple Making Course and get started!