Mar 25, 2021

3 Things Discipleship is Not

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Last Sunday, Pastor Chuck challenged all of us with the basic, biblical concept that “disciples make disciples.” As straightforward as this is, it’s something we all struggle to apply. Is discipleship really the calling of every believer? Am I really qualified to do that? Where do I even start? 

The truth is, not only is it not as difficult as you think, the impact it will have in your life and others is greater than you can imagine. Allow me to offer 3 things that I have learned that discipleship is NOT to inspire you to join the cause.

Discipleship is Not a Curriculum

The curriculum for discipleship is the Bible. That’s it. If you’ve got one, you have everything you need. The content for discipleship is whatever God is teaching you in your daily relationship with him. No lesson to study, no book to read, just a regular diet of God’s Word and prayer and a willingness to share that with others.

One thing you may need is a plan, because if you don’t plan for it, you probably won’t do it. Our church is currently recommending the F260 Bible Reading Plan and the HEAR journaling method. One chapter, one paragraph, 15 minutes a day. Simple tools to help you read, understand and apply God’s Word on a regular basis. Watch out, though. Without you even knowing it, they will also train you to make disciples.

Discipleship is Not Information Transfer

Passing what you know on to someone else, by itself, is not discipleship, because knowledge doesn’t change lives – applying it does. Discipleship seeks understanding through obedience, not the other way around. Discipleship is not about teaching a lesson, but hearing and applying the simple truths of God’s Word, together. A focus on knowledge can actually end up working against us. If we study to teach, we can be tempted to move on to point #2 without applying point #1. For example, if we look at Ephesians 4:32:

“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”

We could spend a long time talking about what exactly is meant by “tenderhearted” and the theology of the atonement, but if we’re not being kind and forgiving, we’ve missed the point! Discipleship is two or more people reading this verse and asking for the Holy Spirit to empower them to show kindness and forgiveness in specific ways in the coming week. 

Discipleship is Not a Program

There is no structure essential for discipleship – only connecting. Discipleship can involve phone conversations or face-to-face gatherings, coffee dates or classroom chairs, patios or playgrounds, waffles or window shopping.

Meeting every other week on a Wednesday morning might be the best method for you and a friend, but as long as you are discussing God’s Word, pressing toward application, holding each other accountable and praying for each other, anything goes.

Don’t let questions about the best way to start keep you from getting started. Walk with God, daily, and ask God to give you someone to share that with. Then keep obeying.

“[Christ] died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him. Therefore encourage one another and build one another up…”

1 Thessalonians 5:10-11