Our Discipleship Problem (Part 6)

I have never been a “handy-man”. Both my dad and my brother were/are Mr. Fixits. They can repair anything, build anything, and work on anything. Not me. Now, if you asked me to analyze and explain the possible causes of the Peloponnesian War, I can do it. But when it came time to fix the ceiling in my bathroom I had no clue what to do. The ceiling had been crumbling bit by bit and when huge chunks of it came down while I was in the shower I thought, “It’s time to deal with this thing!” Thankfully I have a group of friends who are not only handy, but who care about me and are willing to work with me and show me how to fix it. They wouldn’t just come and do it for me, but they would show me how and help me do it. This same principle is what the church needs among its members if genuine discipleship is going to take place. Discipleship happens when individual members care about the spiritual well-being of other members.

We’ve seen that discipleship is organic and part of a church culture. The basic requirement is for individuals who are being trained and equipped to care about the spiritual well-being of other members. This means a lot of discipleship is going to be more informal one-to-one or small groups of people who invest in one antoher’s lives and spend quality as well as quantity time together. Believers need to seek out two kinds of relationships : (1) Seek for a spiritual mentor who can help them grow, and (2) seek a more immature believer who needs help growing. Discipleship is, then, at one level simply doing life with other believers.

There doesn’t have to be any formal education going on here, simply involving people in your life. It means praying with and for others. It means counseling friends, leading others, and being led and counseled by others. It means studying Scripture not simply for private betterment but for the help of our church family. It means holding one another accountable and submitting to such accountability.

You see most of us have made our lives these closed off areas of our existence and even the church is barred from “intruding” there. We have our routines and our schedules, our habits and our problems. But the Bible calls us to “build one another up” and to “bear one another’s burdens.” This means that to some degree, much greater than most of us admit, the church is to be part of that closed-off life. Are you open to allowing others into your life and are you willing to step foot into theirs? If not then you are not going to experience any real discipleship.

Of course all of this really shifts the focus of discipleship away from the church leadership and onto the average member of the church…but biblically I think that is where it should be. Nonetheless there is a place in this discussion for church leadership, and so as we bring this series to a close I want to discuss the role of church leadership in disciple-making.

As always, feel free to engage with this content and offer you comments.

Comments

  1. Do you think that there is such a thing as a bad discipler? I was recently asked to be a mentor to someone, and I am not going to lie… I am almost scared to talk or say certain things to her due to fear of losing our friendship. Something I try to reiterate is that salvation and witness are far more important than temporary emotions and such, but sometimes my flesh gets the best of me. Is this normal or is this a sign that she needs someone stronger?

  2. Pastor Dave Online says:

    I think those are pretty natural concerns and reactions to the difficulties of discipleship. Since we are all called to be a discipler this means that even if we are “bad” at discipling others we have to grow and get better at it. Without knowing details I can’t really speak to what you should or shouldn’t do…nor could I say whether she needs a different discipler. Fear of man is something that plagues so many of us, you’re not alone in that area. Pray that God would give you courage to overcome that fear and speak boldly the truth in love. Two keys that I remind people of when it comes to discipleship is do everything in love (let this be your motivation) and when you go to correct someone point to Scripture (as opposed to just opinion). It helps when you’re able to say “God’s Word says…” and not just “I think…” Also ask lots of questions and make sure you get as much of the whole picture you can…where able let them see their error before you have to tell them. Sometimes, however, you just have tell them. It’s not easy for any of us.

Trackbacks

  1. […] good thoughts on discipleship here. "Discipleship is, then, at one level simply doing life with other believers." What a cool thought, […]

  2. […] Part 6: Discipleship means individuals committed to the spiritual growth of others […]

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