Discipleship…it’s a word that seems to mean different things to different people in the Church. The easy definition for the word is found in Matthew 28:19-20.
“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
It seems that the basic definition of discipleship is to see a person come to believe in the Gospel – the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. And to not only confess simple belief in the Gospel as true, but to call Jesus Lord in the sense of turning one’s life over into His hands. The natural progression then would be to teach the new believer Jesus’ commands, to teach and train them to know and walk according to God’s Word.
I think most people in the church are probably on the same page here, but my question is “What happens next?” You see there’s an implicit law of discipleship here that we often miss. Sometimes we think it enough to see a person come to faith in Christ and then sit in Church environments year after year learning “to observe all that I commanded you.” Is that really enough? Well no, not if your interpretation of that is to simply learn the number of books in the Bible and the do’s and don’ts of Scripture.
So what is this implicit command that we often miss? We have to make disciples who make more disciples! It is a practical reality that if we miss this principle the faith is only one generation from dying out (as the saying goes). So to make it personal; is that your mindset when you witness, or lead a Bible study, or participate in missions of any kind? To ask it another way, are you training and equipping people to take the Gospel to others, to multiply? Are you a multiplier yourself, or are you content being in a good church, listening to sound teaching, and going to Bible study?
I don’t ask these questions to shame anyone, simply to challenge you to think, to be purposeful. At Precept, we have a ministry process we refer to as the three D’s – Discover, go Deeper with others, Disciple.
Discover->>>>>>>>>Go Deeper with others->>>>>>>>>>>Disciple
To state it simply, our intentional goal is to see people equipped to study the Bible inductively, applying sound methodology to the study of God’s Word. In other words, we want anyone who is willing to know how to begin their study at any point in the Bible, just between the individual and the Holy Spirit. If you think this desire is overstated, try polling people in your own church about whether or not they’ve actually been taught to study the Word itself.
The next part of our process is Go Deeper with others. We believe that the Bible teaches us spiritual growth in the context of community. Awesome things happen when we study with other brothers and sisters in Christ not the least of which is more accurate and applicable Bible study as we sharpen one another with spiritual wisdom and insight from the Holy Spirit. But other benefits of community arise too like caring for one another’s needs, accountability leading to personal holiness, and more!
The final part of the process is Disciple. Simply put, this is where people become multipliers. I have no shame in saying that I hope my life will see many disciples in its wake who will produce many disciples themselves. It’s not about numbers, it’s about people being reconciled with God, the Kingdom of God being established, and seeing a little bit of heaven here on Earth.
One little caveat before I wrap this up. A process as I described above is NOT a nice, clean way to mass produce disciples. It is simply a pathway, a tool to cause us to be intentional in our efforts and produce a focus on the things that matter most. And no process, no tool can replace God’s power as He completes the works that we are simply walking in!
Director, Transform Student Ministries