I’ve been asked to write a piece for a nationally published magazine on the subject of discipleship and more importantly, what that looks like in my ministry context here in Denver. What follows will be my research into this idea and as always, your input through comments is welcome.
Discipleship is a complex or simple term depending on who you ask. Some have the perception that it is merely teaching others about Jesus. Others feel that a 12 step program with resultant manuals for classes is necessary. Still others take folks around a baseball diamond which eventually leads them home and, rhetorically, to completion in their initial journey. For all of these methods, there are many others too numerous to name. All have the goal of helping someone achieve a stronger bond with Jesus. At least, most of them do.
For me, discipleship is what the dictionary says it is: “One who accepts and assists in spreading the doctrines of another” or “A convinced adherent of a school or individual”. Of course, for our purposes that person is Jesus. As his disciple, I accept his teaching and have taken on the responsibility of spreading that teaching to others. What that looks like to others is the subject of many books, programs, and seminars.
There is so much that could be written on this topic. For the purposes of publication, I will condense as best I can. For here, I can write a bit more and explore my thoughts even as I express them. As a pastor, this subject is always at the front of my mind. As a church planter, discipleship is crucial if the fledgling church is to have any lasting effect in the community it serves. How do we reach people? Once reached, how do we disciple them? How do we bring back injured sheep who’ve made horrible mistakes? All are questions I’ve asked recently even before I was asked to write.
I do want to explore this further on Wednesday and perhaps even next Monday. We’ll see. For now, it’s enough for me to say this. I’m convinced discipleship is more about the time I spend with someone modeling the life of Christ as best I can rather than the amount of information I try to cram into their head. That’s not to say doctrine isn’t important. It most certainly is. The key for me is to train others to be disciples. It sounds so simple but really, why can’t we do it more successfully then? That is where my thoughts take me as I consider this further. I’ll have more on Wednesday.