February 21, 2024

Discipleship Practiced

What we are doing today?

Lots of modern church practices do not work:

  • It doesn’t work by expecting the Pastor to do all the leading to Christ and discipling.
  • It doesn’t work by attending multiple church services and not growing.

It doesn’t work if people do not live out their faith.

A lot of Christian ministry is based on getting converts. In the 1900s, Evangelists seems more interested in getting people to walk the aisle to count them and their impact than to make disciples. A lot of modern evangelist training focuses heavily on methods of sharing the Gospel in hopes of seeing “people accept Jesus”. It emphasizes “fire insurance” over making disciples. Because of this, the person may not be aware of what they are “signing up” for.

“Discipleship” is often not much more than having someone go through a short book talking about the basics of the faith. It’s almost like initiation into a secret society or club with code words.After  this discipleship class, the new believer is thrown into the main Sunday School classes and Worship Services with people that have had years of training, but the mentoring (in some cases) stops.

How the Biblical Definition Differs

Jesus’ disciples continued to be trained until they changed to Apostles when Jesus left. Jesus’ school taught the disciples who lived with Him. He practiced with them, giving them assignments. Then they were let free to go and live out what He had taught them, making disciples of their own.

Paul’s disciples didn’t finish until they were to be part of a church. Paul was impacted by Barnabas. Paul impacted Timothy and Timothy took on a church.

Not all are destined for leadership, but all can grow in the faith. We should be looking for people that can mentor us as well as people that we can mentor.

Discipleship in the Biblical sense is a direction, not a destination. It has a starting point with no end. There are different things you grow into, but you never fully reach an end state, because this side of Heaven you are always growing to be more like Christ.

If anything, Paul thought he was less worthy at the end of his life than at the beginning of his discipleship. We need to have this same mindset.

Your impact

Just like the Disciples, who became the Apostles, were chosen from different backgrounds, so are we. One was a tax collector, some were fisherman, still others were active in political parties, etc.
We all come from different social circles and we all have influence.

The online world realizes the power of your social network, and they believe that they can make money trying to monetize it.

  • Blogs attempt to use their influence to refer you to buy products.
  • Facebook knows who your friends are, and they attempt to recommend items that other of your friends are interested in.
  • Google watches your searches and your friend’s searches to further their results and advertising.

They understand the worth of your social network, do you?

There are people in your life that you can reach for Christ that I cannot. These people know who you are and have a relationship with you. Even if it’s not the Gospel presentation you are making, you are influencing them for Christ by your behavior, what you find appropriate and what you find funny.

The Bible—God—has the solutions for the common things in life that we go through. We claim to have an all sufficient Scripture, so we should be ready with empathy and prayer when people are struggling. We need to live out a faith that attracts others.

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