Disciples and Sword Makers

April 29, 2013, 0 Comments

The work of making a disciple is one of both mind and heart. Today, I’d like for you to think with me about the heart.

According to Etsy: “Korehira Watanabe is one of the last remaining Japanese swordsmiths. He has spent 40 years honing his craft in an attempt to recreate Koto, a type of sword that dates back to the Heian and Kamakura periods (794-1333 AD). No documents remain to provide context for Watanabe’s quest, but he believes he has come close to creating a replica of this mythical samurai sword.”

Watch this video and then consider some of the thoughts below.



In thinking through our basic mission as Christians, the making of new disciples is inherent to what we do. In fact, it is inherent to who we now are. The short video and words from Watanabe offers three important principles for making disciples.

1. Surpassing

“I want my disciple to surpass me as a sword maker. It is my duty to build up a disciple better than me. Otherwise, the tradition will wear thin with time.”

Watanabe has sought to build on what he learned from the past historical masters of sword makers. Too many of us have been satisfied with making copies from the past. We should hold a healthy respect of those who have preceded us in the history of the church. However, we cannot simply emulate their lives and ministries. We should seek to not simply be the same but to build upon what they have done. Our churches should strive to aid new believers to to surpass anything that we have currently achieved in mission and ministry.

2. Passion

“What I received from my master is not only the technique but also his passion for sword making. I want my disciple to receive my passion.”

Disciple making is about the heart, mind, and behavior. However, growing intellectually theological and behaviorally moral will both come to an end if the heart does not precede them. Watanabe understands this truth. With his disciple Kikuchi, his desire is to see passion first with the understanding that skill will follow. In our development of spiritual maturity in others, we must position love as the central discipline of life. Participating in mission will naturally follow the heart.

3. Multiplicative

“I believe he will pass down his own passion for sword making to the next generations.”

The principles of surpassing and passion discipleship result in a multiplicative form of discipleship. Engendering heart and a desire for progress will lead to a multiplicative mindset. It is important to see that Watanabe did not simply want to make Kikuchi a disciple of sword making. He intends Kikuchi to be a discipler of other sword makers. It is the same attitude taught to Timothy by the apostle Paul when he wrote, “And what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, commit to faithful men who will be able to teach others also” (2 Timothy 2:2, HCSB). As we go about the mission of God, it should be to be disciple makers making disciple makers. One generation of learning is never the goal. Our intention must be to see God’s rule and fame stretch through every generation.

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