In my ripe old age I've noticed that trends seem to come and go in Christianity. Certain buzz words pop up and start getting used frequently then after awhile the next new thing comes along. When I was in college it was small groups or even house churches. You saw many people talking about how to do groups or how we needed to go back to what things were in Acts. Now the trend I see buzzing is discipleship.
I can't get through my Facebook feed without seeing the next new book being advertised on how to effectively make disciples. I can buy an 8 week video series about how to disciple people and it has this famous speaker who will help me. I hear different podcasts saying you need to be discipling people! I recently sat back and thought to myself, "This is everywhere, but what the heck does discipleship even mean!?"
I think people can think because you've got a Masters that you have this whole Christian thing figured out, but that's definitely not true. I'm still learning and growing like anyone else and I never want to assume I have it all figured out. However, I do realize that if I've been to seminary and I'm still pondering this whole discipleship thing then just maybe others are too. So let's talk about it...
Discipleship is essentially doing life with someone with the intention to help them look more like Christ. Someone who is the discipler is typically a little older or has been a Christian a bit longer and they are hanging out with the disciple to show them what it looks like to be a Christian in different areas of life while having pointed conversations along the way. It's pretty simple really and maybe unlike me, you already knew that.
Jesus tells His disciples in Matthew 28:19-20, "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Jesus tells his disciples to go make disciples. We call this the great commission and if you're a Christian, it applies to you. We are supposed to be making disciples and teaching them to observe everything Jesus commanded. We should all be doing this with one or two people in our lives.
As a student pastor, I've been seeing this as the most effective way to see significant growth, influence, and change in someone's life. I've been saying that we grow bigger or we grow deeper when we go smaller. Jesus knew this of course, which is why He poured His life into twelve men, had an inner circle of three, and had a best friend. Then He tells them to go and do likewise.
So maybe you already knew about discipleship or maybe you were like me and were a bit fuzzy on exactly what it means to make disciples, be discipled, etc. Either way, now the questions we must ask ourselves are "Who should we be discipling?" and "Who should we approach about discipling us?"