These are my thoughts.
What is discipleship? Well, my definition of discipleship will probably be. Helping people/babes grow in Christ.
You know the verse. Mat 28:19 Go, then, to all peoples everywhere and make them my disciples: baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Some people immediately link discipleship to mission. I am not sure I agree. Or perhaps I agree, but we tend to speed things up, and in that, I have a problem. I’ll explain. After Jesus died, the disciples had no clue on what to do next. No mission, no vision. Think about it. Should they not have been better prepared? Surely Jesus wasted a lot of good “teaching time”. What was it then, that Jesus gave them during the 3 and a half years He walked with them? I think He gave them, Himself. They had to walk a very long time with the Person in order to get to know Him first. Dare I say, Discipleship is the natural outflow of a relationship with Jesus?
Discipleship has it’s problems today, probably because we have very few mature christians left. And by mature, I mean people who have themselves grown in Jesus. The mature christians is usually so tied up in christian programs that they simply do not have time to walk with the people around them. And we have a lot of mature christians that left the organized part of church, but they tend to find themself in a wilderness for a very long time, because they long for a “better, old time” and do not see what is in front of them.
If Jesus forms the primary pattern of disciple-making for the church, then maybe we have to open our eyes. He walked with 12 people for three+ years. That equals 4 people per year. One betrayed Him after that time. Do we really believe we can do a better job than He did? How many people can you/I walk with in a year? Get to know me/you? See the Father in me/you?
When we give people the principles of discipleship, rather than Jesus, we have what we call today “the church”. We have no clue on how to help people grow in Christ, because we have never done it ourselves. And we simply do not allow people to mature from babies to fathers and mothers. That is the problem of discipleship today. We speed things up. We are to thankful for new converts. We tell the babes, “You were born yesterday, today I want you to run.” That is impossible, but we do it none the less. Have you ever seen baby being born? They have no clue on what is happening. After being born, they have to bond. It is crucial for the rest of his/her life. They learn what it is like being loved. It’s an intimate process. It takes quite a while before they can feed themself. And a whole time longer to take care of themself. And even more time before they can take care of others. Why are we so slow in regonizing that we have to grow? And growing is what you do in a family.
Discipleship is a natural christian phenomenon. It the instinctive process of growing as a Christian. And if we do not experience it, we will struggle to mature. And that, has it’s own consequences……..