I’ve been thinking a lot about discipleship the last few weeks. I’ve written about discipleship before and much of this post will echo that post’s sentiment. Maybe it’s just the sceptic in me, but I do not know if we will ever see discipleship functioning in the church. It’s just too slow for us.
Let me give you a quick round-up what I believe on discipleship. It’s a process of a babe becoming a grown-up and a grown-up helping the babe along the way. It’s not something we have in the church. We believe more in the jug-to-mug way as Mark put it today. I’m going to give some numbers as to the time frame I believe in. Please, these are not set in stone. I’m wrong a lot. Don’t bite my head off if you differ from me.
I always connect discipleship with 1 John 2 where we find these verses.
1Jn 2:12 I am writing to you, little children, because your sins are forgiven for his name’s sake.
1Jn 2:13 I am writing to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning. I am writing to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one. I write to you, children, because you know the Father.
1Jn 2:14 I write to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one.
We all know these verses. I like these verses because there is an element of growth in them.(From babe to grown-up). Also, these verses show that it doesn’t matter how “old” you are, God is just as present with the babe as with the grown-up.
Time frame wise – You must be at least 28 years old to be a father/mother and I am being very lenient with the 28. I would prefer 30-35 years old. To go from babe to grown-up – at least 8 years when you have someone who is discipling you. If you had to fend for yourself like most of us had to(children growing up by themselves) – 15 to 20 years. This is a very broad generalization. There is no rule when it comes to God. He can use anybody any age as He wishes. Young people will probably kill me for this time frame.(I would have), but I believe life has to throw a lot of stuff at you, before you are ready to be a father/mother in the church. You could also tell me that Paul began some congregations and left after only for three weeks. I know.
All I’m trying to say is that it takes longer to go from babe to grown-up if you do not have parents. And…some people in church, do not have the weight to be parents. I’ve always marvelled at the irony of today’s church. I’ve seen people getting into leadership after they have been Christians for 6 months, because they are learnt (doctor, professor, lawyer etc.), have charismatic personalities, have money, are beautiful/brawn/smart. I can find this almost amusing, if it wasn’t so depressing. But then again, a babe looking after babes is the norm in church, not the exception. We are not known for our “deep” spirituality. Perhaps, it has something to do with the fact that we simply do not believe in discipleship as an option in today’s church. In my 40 years I’ve only met 1 pastor who discipled. It gives me the creeps when I hear about a three week course in discipleship.
We still believe church growth is about numbers or we equal knowledge with growth. Well, from where I am standing, it seems God does not always prefer the numbers or reveals Himself to those with the most knowledge.
Discipleship is about growth. Jesus-Life-Growth in real life. Funny that we believe Sundays and Wednesday evenings (choose your own day) is enough for this to happen.
More tomorrow. (I hope 🙂