When discipling other believers in Christ, you must be aware that multiple parts of life need the transformational power of Jesus. Their brain, or mind, needs to be re-calibrated toward thinking biblically about life, doctrine and the Bible. Their affections, or hearts, need to be revitalized toward feeling biblically in how they emotionally connect to others in love, kindness, truthfulness, and sincerity. AND their actions, or hands, need to be trained and equipped to behave biblically in the way they act in the world.
True Christian discipleship focuses in all three zones – the head, the heart, and the hands – but not always at the same time or with the same intensity. Depending on the spiritual maturity of the believer, a particular zone will be emphasized for a period of time over and above another.
For example, when a new believer comes to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, the heart is usually pumping with this newly found affection for Christ and a deep appreciation for what He has done for them on the cross. But while the heart is pumping strongly, the head is lacking insight and discernment in how to understand the things of God. So one must disciple the head, while continuing to encourage the heart.
Or possibly a young theologian and Bible student has plunged deeply into the truths of the Bible with their mind’s active and their head’s being filling with considerable Christian teaching. But they become unaware of their actions and behaviors towards others. Their minds are being discipled but their hands are cold and unused. So the discipler must find a way to further the theological stimulation of the mind, but disciple the individual to consider their actions with their friends and neighbors.
Still yet, a maturing believer who has sat under a series of sermons on the spiritual gifts can find immediately discover ways to activate their hands in service to God, but do it without the heart of love and compassion. Their heads and hands have been engaged, but their hearts remained unmoved. So the discipler must add to the teaching of spiritual gifts the understanding that without love, everything is worthless.
So here is the key. When you disciple another person – whether one on one or a group – you must keep all three zones on the table. Your desire is to grow them in their knowledge, encourage them in their affections, and challenge them in their behaviors.
All three are necessary for Christian growth and spiritual maturity. All three are part of disciple-making.