Jesus was a master teacher and in creating our own culture of discipleship, we'd be wrong to stray too far from his example. He invited those who would follow Him into a pattern of transformation. Dallas Willard in Renovation of the Heart describe His 3 basic steps: vision, intention and means.
Jesus shares the vision of the kingdom through the parables. They’re in a sense the doorway for a new way of thinking about God and the world. That's great, but by itself a doorway serves only a decorative purpose. It does nothing unless it’s used. That’s where the intention comes in.
Intention is catalyzed when our will responds to the vision presented. Jesus shares a parable, a teaching, performs a miracle and presents a picture of the world first century Israelites were unfamiliar with, but at the same time were captivated by. There were those who chose to just relate their experience with others. “Do you remember the time when Jesus healed that guy who was born blind--that was amazing!” There were those who stood on the sidelines keeping track of the rules. “Yeah he may have been healed, but it was done on the wrong day. Jesus is a phony.” Then there were those who knew Jesus’ actions and teachings were pointing to something more. As Jesus spoke, they recognized the seed of truth and responded to the stirring that was in their hearts. They were the ones who pushed through the crowd, who dropped their nets, who asked the questions. That’s intention at work. They weren’t satisfied to sit on the sidelines and criticize or capture a memory--they wanted to be changed.
Then Jesus presented the means: “Follow me.” And that’s what they did, literally. They gave up their old way of life and followed Jesus around, absorbing his teaching, discussing the details of the kingdom and helping to bring it about through their direct action. Little by the little that action, coupled with the means changed everything about them.
That same process is available to us. Jesus' teachings are compelling, but they're not meant for just inspiration, they're meant to produce action. As you allow your intention to respond to Jesus' vision you begin to put his words into practice. Where there's a step of obedience to take, you make it. Where there's a habit to implement, you start it. Little by little the kingdom grows in us in both our understanding and our action.
When we do this as individuals, we grow to be more like Jesus. When we share this pattern with others, it develops a culture of discipleship that can deeply impact the society around you.