“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,”
I was raised in church. From age two to twelve, I attended most services Sunday morning, Sunday night, Wednesday night and any special services. I was blessed with a strong foundation in the Bible. I memorized Scriptures from an early age and was taught about the people of faith the Bible talks about. I was baptized at age eight after making a public declaration of faith.
Discipleship on the other hand was not something I really learned about until I was an adult. One to one discipleship or even small group discipleship was not something that I saw occur growing up. If I’m honest, it not something that I have seen intentionally done in most churches. I remember a church I attended in Missouri that did a foundational discipleship class. It was more like a Sunday school class with more than half the church participating. In Arkansas, I attended a church that did small group discipleship.
Later, that same church incorporated a discipleship program by Rocky Fleming called Journey. I was blessed to not only walk through that nine month process of discipleship, but lead two other groups through the process. There is something about the accountability and relationship of discipleship that is missing in most churches. It is missing from a lot of people’s lives in general
Jesus had many followers, Luke talks about how he sent out seventy. “Now after this the Lord appointed seventy others, and sent them in pairs ahead of Him to every city and place where He Himself was going to come. And He was saying to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest. Go; behold, I send you out as lambs in the midst of wolves. Carry no money belt, no bag, no shoes; and greet no one on the way. Whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace be to this house.’ If a man of peace is there, your peace will rest on him; but if not, it will return to you. Stay in that house, eating and drinking what they give you; for the laborer is worthy of his wages. Do not keep moving from house to house. Whatever city you enter and they receive you, eat what is set before you; and heal those in it who are sick, and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’” Luke 10:1-9
He only had twelve disciples. A small group of people that He poured himself into daily for three years. They were all from different backgrounds and wouldn’t have anything in common except Jesus. He was in their homes, with their families, knew about their jobs, their likes and dislikes. They were part of His inner circle. He encouraged them, and called them on their crap too. That is what discipleship looks like.
We have created a society that doesn’t make regular time for true relationships, let alone discipleship. Follow me on social media and I’ll return the request, but please don’t ask me to be involved in your everyday life. People have a hard time making time for those who they are related to, let alone add additional time for someone who is in real need. We like twitter feeds and instagram pictures to feel like we are keeping up with others, but have a hard time picking up the phone to just chat with those we love.
We hide behind masks not allowing others to see our weaknesses and failures. We want to give help, but we rarely are willing to ask for it. We don’t want anyone telling us how to live our lives. We don’t want others calling us on the things we are doing that we know are wrong, but justify by the standards of the world. We love our lives in silos only letting people in when asking for prayer for serious illnesses, financial needs, and career changes.
We lead people to Christ with fervency, ready to see their lives transformed. Then we want people to watch a sermon, listen to a podcast, read a book or blog to learn about a deeper relationship with Christ. We hand out 7 tips to a transformed life, but don’t want to spend the time walking others through to their transformation.
This is the great commission. I have heard it preached, but I have rarely seen it lived out. We go, go, go. We are mission minded, but not relationship driven. We want a one and done deliverance or conversion. We might have a monthly baptism if that often. We teach and preach with amazing anointing. Where does the discipleship take place? Does discipleship take place? I
t has to me more than a book or a sermon, more than a meeting at church, it is about learning to live life in God’s way in true relationship with others. Not just those that are like us, but with people from various backgrounds, with various skills, where iron can sharpen iron. Daily living, messy relationship, accountability and vulnerability, that’s how you make disciples.