| True Discipleship|
I've been thinking a lot lately about discipleship and how we can effectively carry out this process in the church. It seems many churches have downplayed or even abandoned traditional forms of discipling believers like adult Sunday school classes, and regular times set aside for studying the Word. It seems they have traded those times for more "current" or relationship/fellowship building methods that suit those coming to their churches as well as reach out to the community. That all has its place and is needed, but isn't that all pointless if we don't have the Word as a foundation under it? Does discipleship happen better in the classroom or in the living room, and is it possible to have one without the other.
| 2005/7/20 13:27||Profile|
| Re: True Discipleship|
I have been mulling over this very thing for a number of months now...interesting timing on your post.
I agree with you in that the foundation of God's word is primary. That is the base from which we operate. Every 'method' (for lack of a better word) is pointless if the word isn't the foundation.
Jesus 'discipled' the disciples as He lived life. He didn't necessarily sit them down in a classroom, though He did take them aside at different times to teach, answer questions that they had from the course of the day...
I am really praying about discipling 6-10 men that God has raised up around me in the area of public ministry I have been involved with over the last handful of years.
| 2005/7/20 13:42||Profile|
Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada
It is healthy to make a distinction between discipleship and indoctrination.
Sadly most churches do not provide indoctrination for their new believers, and among those churches that do, they imagine that merely indoctrinating their new converts is paramount to discipling them.
In doctrination is instruction in the truths of our faith, but discipleship is mentoring believers into an obedient relationship with their God.
We must never mistake bible studies etc. for "discipleship."
Daniel van de Laar
| 2005/7/20 15:03||Profile|
We must never mistake bible studies etc. for "discipleship."
Amen dann. Greg and I were just talking about discipleship on the phone earlier today and the need and lack of it in our churches and lives.
| 2005/7/20 16:36||Profile|
It seems many churches have downplayed or even abandoned traditional forms of discipling believers like adult Sunday school classes, and regular times set aside for studying the Word.
This is true in my own experience.
My concern is for our new believers, both young and old in age. There are many church leaders, who becoming professional religous executives, don't realize how their polished presentation actually dims the fledgling discernment of new vibrant believers looking for substance and not form. (For the sake of this conversation, forgive me for speaking in generalities, not overlooking many fine exceptions.) I'm talking about casual "spirit-filled" evangelical leaders...their glib "maturity" injures the desperate passion of a young would-be desciple who comes bankrupt and naked to follow Jesus. To hear "been there done that" all the time from 9-5 lack-luster elders dulls the brilliant call upon thier lives.
Again I am generalizing, perhaps unfairly...there are many, many excellent pastors who are committed to making total desciples as evidenced by Sermon Index. Perhaps my grievance is that these men are in too short supply for our religous age.
The current portrait of the Christian is so maligned and caricatured by religous broadcasting that before we deveop methodologies for creating desciples...we need to rediscover the definition for desciples. In our culture, terms like "believer" and "convert" don't contain enough meaning or reality in them.
As mentioned earlier, bible study, which is part of descipleship, is considered the whole deal today. But as Art Katz has said..."You can always tell who is hearing by who is doing."
Speaking of Art Katz, I think he has a prophetic perspective on this subject. In our drunken times he is a sobering cup of spiritual coffee without the cream and sugar. In particular, the sermon "And They Crucified Him" continues to arouse me from slumber. The entire message is difficult to digest in even a few listenings...especially the last quarter. But it will stir up the love for God's truth in your heart brothers.
After meditating on it for a few days, I realized I do indeed need a new definition for the word" desciple".
[url=http://126.96.36.199/sermons/SID3067.mp3]And They Crucified Him[/url]
| 2005/7/20 18:21||Profile|
Some really good points here. I agree it seems we have far too many leaders today leading in the natural and in their own ability, not in humility and dependence on the Holy Spirit. I think that leads to pursuing whatever they feel will work best to get results. We must have the times of studying the Word and times of relationship building. There must be an inflow of the Word of God into our lives, the hearing, and then we have to allow that Word to flow out of our lives to others, the doing. I think real discipleship would have to include both of those dynamics wouldnt it?
| 2005/7/21 10:22||Profile|
While I have never been formally "discipled" as in enrolling in a class at a church, I have been in a formal "internship" in regard to ministry. I must say of the couple years I was an "intern" at my last church, I felt more choked in my spiritual growth than anything.
Since going to my new church in the last year, I have done nothing but flourish under my new pastor. I've not been under any new discipleship program, but, I am being discipled in a relational way. I think simply doing a program and saying "for 13 weeks we will talk about such and such, and the next 13 weeks we will talk about such and such" will cause us to never really grow.
Jesus taught His disciples the truth's they needed to know, when they needed to know it. He still does. Being a disciple simply means being a follower of Jesus. As we follow Him, the Spirit of God will lead us into all truth when we come across problems and have no idea how to handle them. Thus the truth will be fresh and living, as we apply it in our lives, and not simply some paper doctrine that we memorized in a classroom.
I think discipleship classes are all short-sighted in the regard that discipleship never ceases... but the class itself will. Discipleship is something that will go on for the rest of your Christian life, no matter how mature you get. There is no finality to the Christian life this side of glory. The way the Lord has discipled me is over the years to bring various Christian men and women into my life who were able to speak into it when I needed to hear what they said the most. Then suddenly, the Lord brings them out of my life, and they no longer pour their lives into mine. Instead, I am brought new people who are able to take me to a deeper level in my faith, to a level that those in the past couldn't bring me. This cycle will continue the rest of my life, until the day I die, for the Lord is my Shepherd, and the one I follow.
| 2005/7/21 11:44||Profile|
to disciple, as a verb, is quite unusual in the New Testament. I thought you might be interested to see how it is used?
Matt. 13:52 And he said to them, Because of this every scribe having been discipled in regard to the reign of the heavens, is like to a man, a householder, who doth bring forth out of his treasure things new and old.
Matt. 27:57 ¶ And evening having come, there came a rich man, from Arimathea, named Joseph, who also himself was discipled to Jesus,
Matt. 28:19 having gone, then, disciple all the nations, (baptizing them to the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit,
Acts 14:21 Having proclaimed good news also to that city, and having discipled many, they turned back to Lystra, and Iconium, and Antioch,
| 2005/7/21 12:00||Profile|
I agree that we can get in a rut of labeling discipleship as traditional in-class Bible training and that view is short sighted because it does not encourage the giving and the doing and the mentoring dynamic.
However, I really, really think we need to be careful, because we need to have the Word of God as a foundation for our lives. We should never receive truth or teaching from others unless it fits with the Word. How do we know if it does if we dont have that foundational teaching? Many people, especially new people, come into the church and they have no training or understanding of the Word. We need to teach them the Word and what it means to follow Christ. They need those 13 week classes to build their foundation, to give them an anchor for their life so they are not tossed to and fro by every wind and wave of doctrine. I have benefited tremendously from mentors in my life who have helped me better know the Word and apply it to my life. They were effective in discipling me because, and only because, they knew the Word. When Jesus mentored his disciples, He gave them His words, the Word, and then helped them live it out. Today, we have those same words in the Bible, and we need to teach Jesus Word to others and then teach them how to go and live it out.
This is really the point Im trying to get to and get advice on how we can do it better. We have done traditional Bible training wrong many times in the past so it has been dismissed as ineffective, now I feel we are in danger of drifting without the anchor of the Word of God.
| 2005/7/21 13:31||Profile|
I have been thinking about the concept of 'discipling'. The 'shepherding/discipling' movement brought the concept into some disrepute but what exactly does it mean, biblically? Whole church philosophies seem to take it is a 'given' that 'discipling' converts means a personal one-to-one partnership. Is that what it means?
The noun for disciple means a learner or someone who is being taught. It is part of a matched pair; disciple/teacher. It seems to me that each group of disciples would have one teacher.
The Pharisees used the word 'disciple' to indicate not only someone who was being taught but who had become an adherent. John 9:28 Then they reviled him, and said, Thou art his disciple; but we are Moses disciples. The other 'teacher' to have 'disciples' was John Baptist; Matt. 9:14 Then came to him the disciples of John, saying, Why do we and the Pharisees fast oft, but thy disciples fast not?
So it seems to me that scripturally we have 3 kinds of disciple; Moses', John Baptist's, and Christ's. The task of 'discipling' converts then would be of bringing them into personal relationship with the 'Teacher'; Christ Himself. It is dangerously easy to make cause converts to become dependent upon their catechist. I think perhaps the emphasis in Matt 28 is not so much the relationship between the new convert and the 'teacher' but between the new convert and the 'Teacher'.
The Matthew 28 reference is significant here too. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Amen. (Matt. 28:19-20, NKJV) I have gone for the NKJV simply because it distinguishes between the word 'to make a disciple' and the word for 'teaching them to observe'. The method of 'discipling' them is that of 'teaching them to observe'. This is not teaching them to believe certain received doctrines but teaching them to 'obey' Christ's commandments. The relationship then is formed between the disciple and the One whose commandments they obey.
'discipling' in this sense would seem to point towards the development of a relationship rather than the acquiring of doctrinal knowledge or ministry expertise. It is interesting that this topic has emerged. Just this week a brother asked me to review an article entitled The Spontaneous Multiplication of Churches. From a brief scan the concepts seem simply and thoroughly biblical. I have just ordered the book. Does anyone have experience of the concept and its practice?
| 2005/7/21 14:09||Profile|