Sometimes we try to make discipleship into other things that will diminish what the Bible says it is. Unfortunately that can cause leaders to make the wrong choice their main focus. Here are 5 things that discipleship is not…
1. Not a Program
The most common mistake is turning discipleship into a curriculum that a person completes. Instead of supporting an ongoing process, a program focuses on finishing material or learning information. Because discipleship is about a choice to follow Jesus, it needs to be a way of life for all of life. Discipleship is the heart of what it means to be a Christian.
2. Not a Production Line
At one time in my life I thought of discipleship as a production plan based on multiplication for reaching the world. The truth is only disciples who are passionate for Christ will be able to sustain any effort to reach others around them. I have learned that discipleship is much more about the depth of character and spiritual passion of each disciple than it is a plan for church growth.
3. Not Just For New Christians
When I hear people communicate that discipleship is for new Christians I cringe. It is a huge mistake to think that anyone arrives or is beyond the basics. Far too many Christians no longer practice the basics and are out of shape spiritually.
4. Not Just For Leaders
Sometimes lay people feel inferior spiritually to those who are in leadership or who are in full time ministry. Sure, pastors know more about religious matters than most lay people but this doesn’t mean they are more spiritual. The starting point and goal of spiritual formation and discipleship is transformation to the image of Christ. To goal of discipleship is for us to be more like Jesus, thinking how he thinks, feeling as he feels, loving as he loves and living as He wants us to live.
5. Not Just For People Who Like Structure
Remember that discipleship is not a program, although many of us have been taught that it is. Sure there have been tools published to help us. Todd and I even developed the Life2Life Notebook which is a discipleship tool. However, if we strip down discipleship to just completing something it becomes much less than God intended.
Discipline is tough to learn on your own. A discipleship tool can set you in motion with energy. Even if you are not drawn to structure, it can enrich your life in Christ. Maybe you think structure robs you of freedom and flexibility but I believe it gives you freedom and flexibility. Without it my life has a tendency to get out of control.
How are you doing with the basics of the Christian life? Are you listening to His voice? How is God speaking to you through His Word?