Discipleship is one of the hottest yet least understood topics today.
By the word “discipleship,” some visualize a curriculum. That would make a “disciple” someone who knows a lot about their faith. And that is partially true. But discipleship is a much deeper, richer and fuller concept. It is also a lifelong process of becoming more like Jesus. It starts with salvation, matures through learning, and fulfills by loving and serving our neighbors.
What is a disciple? A disciple is someone called to live “in” Christ, equipped to live “like” Christ and sent to live “for” Christ. “Calling” includes salvation and abiding in Christ (John 8:31–32). “Equipping” includes spiritual formation and growth (2 Tim. 3:16–17). “Sending” includes discipling others, good work, bearing much fruit and neighbor love (Matt. 28:18–20, John 15:8, John 13:34–35).
Discipleship, then, is anything that calls someone to live in Christ, equips and sends them to live like Christ and for Christ. To disciple someone is to raise them up to love God above all else. It’s to equip them to release the power of the Gospel in their life. It’s to train them to live for Christ in their life situation.
Evangelism without discipleship is cruel. It’s like enlisting a man in the Army and issuing him a rifle that he never learns how to clean and shoot. When we don’t “fully” disciple new believers, they will almost always become lukewarm in faith, worldly in behavior and hypocritical in witness. Anything less than a plan to disciple every willing person is a catastrophic moral failure.
Thus, when God puts someone in your path who is stuck, find out why and then help them solve their problem. Find out where they are in life, on their spiritual journey, and what’s holding them back.
(My Note: Discipleship, then, is to equip people in the faith, but not to keep on solving their problems for them. Aside from teaching them to help themselves, we must train them also to help others and transfer that skill to them).
The first step to every great outcome is to imagine its possibility.
Until every church disciples every man … -- nrm/03/01/2015.