Discipleship is something that every Christian should be participating in. In this series I began with giving some principles, followed by setting some expectations, then I answered some maturity questions, after the maturity questions I answered some of the life stage questions, and am now following with some mechanics questions.
Rich and I met weekly to discuss how the bible applied to my current life situations
This is the area of objections that seems to have the most misconceptions. Discipleship always looks different. Discipleship is based not only on the gifting of the discipler but also the gifting of the disciple. The difference in the spiritual gifting of the discipler and disciple will have a huge impact on what discipleship looks like. For example: If the discipler is a gifted servant than discipleship would likely take place while serving someone else in the body rather than if the discipler is a gifted teacher than discipleship will likely take place over an open bible. Discipleship will have a different flavor depending on the culture, season of life, and maturity of both parties. For example: If the discipler is a married man with small children discipling another man with small children than discipleship may happen at the park while they watch their kids play or if the discipler is a married man with lots of kids and the disciple is a single than discipleship might happen at the discipler’s house while he spends time with his family. It is my desire to be able to point out some principles to answer each of these questions.
John would meet regularly with me and some other men to teach us from the scriptures.
- I have never been discipled so I don’t know how it should look.
- I think that discipleship comes from the pulpit.
- I can do biblical counseling but I don’t know how to disciple someone after counseling is over.
- Discipleship is only going through a book of the bible.
- Discipleship is supposed to be a 4 part 2 hour long meeting: 30 minutes of catching up on life, 30 minutes of prayer, 30 minutes of bible study, and 30 minutes of application. I don’t have time to do this.
- I can’t be like the guy who discipled me.
- I disciple people between church services when we are talking.
Peter and I would connect over a meal to talk about life and how the scriptures apply to it.
RESPONSE TO EXCUSES
- Not having someone to disciple you is a hardship to discipling others. However, it is not a crippling blow. There are many examples of discipleship found in the scriptures, in fact the two greatest examples of discipleship can be found with Jesus and the Apostle Paul. If you have not been discipled then look to them as the greatest examples of discipship. The Apostle Paul was a disciple maker extraordinaire and set a great example for us to follow in 1 Thessalonians 1 and 2. Applicable Verses: Matthew 28:18-20, 1 Thessalonians 1-2, 1 Corinthians 11:1
- Discipleship that comes from the pulpit is lacking at least one of the three leg’s that discipleship stands on. Discipleship is defined in Matthew 28 as having 3 fundamental parts: 1) Life experience together, 2) Public identification with Christ, and 3) Application of the Scriptures. Discipleship from the pulpit can at best encourage application of the scriptures in a general sense and encourage someone who publicly identify with Christ. Discipleship is not about calling others to generally follow Christ but to specifically and purposefully apply the scriptures to the current life situation. One of the greatest strengths of a disciplemaker is his or her ability to identify where the disciple is in their walk with Christ and how to apply the scriptures to help them deal with that situation. Enjoying life experiences together really helps get people to build a relationship which will give them specific scriptures that would help each one deal with their life situations. Joint life experiences are hard to come by when you only listen to the discipler talk from behind a pulpit. Applicable Verses: Matthew 28:18-20, 1 Thessalonians 1-2
- Biblical Counselors will define biblical counseling as purposeful focused discipleship. This sell’s discipleship short, discipleship is not only focused on one issue or sin pattern that an individual has but is focused on all aspects of a person’s life. It is sad to have heard multiple times from Biblical Counselors that they don’t know how to disciple. It seems to me that the root of this excuse is that they don’t want or have time to get involved with more people. Discipleship necessitates a relationship that goes both ways and that scares some biblical counselors. A biblical counselor who wants to start discipling should open up himself/herself to building a relationship with the disciple that is more than a simple meeting time and some pointed instruction. They need to build a relationship with the one whom they are trying to disciple. Paul dealt with many hard issues in all of the churches that he helped start but most of the most difficult work came in correcting issues that were present in the life of people who he evangelized and discipled. Applicable Verses: 1 Thessalonians 1, Matthew 28:18-20
- Discipleship has three major aspects: Relationship with other believers, Commitment to publicly follow Christ, and Practicing what the scriptures say. If you are discipling people you will eventually touch every section of the scriptures but there is no bibilcal mandate to only go through one book of the bible at a time. Applicable Verses: Matthew 28:18-20
- Discipleship does not have a pattern that is so rigid to follow. Discipleship is driven the principles found in the scriptures and very much shaped by the gifting of the individual, the culture of the church and the culture of the people. Paul’s discipleship took on different forms in each location. There were always the same principles that were practiced but some of the methods changed. Applicable Verses: 1 Thessalonians 1-2, Acts 20:17-38, 1 Corinthians 11:1
- Discipleship is not about making people more like yourself but making people more like Jesus. The one discipling you should not be out to make an exact replica of himself or herself but should be exhorting you to become more like Christ. All of our gifts are going to be different and all of the way’s that we are going to serve in the church will never all be the exact same way. Discipleship is very much saying to others imitate me as I imitate Christ. Applicable Verses: 1 Corinthians 11:1, 1 Thessalonians 1-2, Matthew 28:18-20
- Discipleship has a few simple parts like relationship building, calling others to repent of their sins, and teaching people to obey all that the scriptures say. Discipleship between services does not allow for the relationship to flourish. Talking with people between services is a start to discipleship but does not allow for someone to practice all three aspects of discipleship. Paul’s example of discipleship was that he shared his very life with the people. Applicable Verses: Acts 20:17-38, 1 Thessalonians 1-2
Discipleship will always look a little different for each individual. There are no specific mechanics or pattern which you can use to disciple others. There are principles which are necessary to follow in discipleship. These principles were discussed in the first post from this series. Do not get stuck on the different mechanics of discipleship but actually practice doing it. For example I discipled one young man who has started discipling another. He tried to follow the pattern which was set by me but it turns out that it doesn’t work for him. He had to modify some of the mechanics of discipleship so that it fit his gifting better. He is now discipling men and will continue to do so.