'I was afraid that in some way the tempter had tempted you and that our labors might have been in vain.' 1 These 3:5 NIVIf you've been making disciples for a minute, then there's plenty of times that you look back and see it was in vain. The two lessons I've been trying to learn for years (I'm still not there yet) are:
1) Do everything for the glory of God (1 Cor 10:31). If all our discipleship efforts are done primarily for God's glory, even when they fail, it still counts, because God was glorified, and my motives were to make much of Him.
2) Do everything from faith and love - this is the only thing that counts (Gal 5:6). The type of discipleship that really counts (for the discipler at least), is when I'm motivated by faith in God and his promises: This faith leads to a love towards God and others that results in discipling in a loving way. This counts - even if the person I'm discipling backslides.
'For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.' Gal 5:6