Notes to Pilgrims #15
Somehow it has come to be the ‘next big thing’ in doing church, and admittedly the temptation to search out ‘the best discipleship scheme out there’ is great. And there are indeed many discipleship schemes already existing that we can adopt. But I am convinced that there is yet a better way forward.
The reality is that we are all engaged in discipleship one way or the other. There are certain things (not necessarily Biblical or Christian) that we are constantly modeling, teaching, and wishing into the lives of the people in our circles. That is essentially what discipleship is all about. If you are passionate about something (cooking, eating, reading, business, investments, math, sports, photography, juicing, toys, &c), it comes naturally for you to want your friends and the people you care about to develop the same passion for these things. Or at the very least, it is your desire that they understand why you are so excited about these things. You also naturally gravitate towards people who share the same passions. Why? So that the fire of your passion for these things remains aflame. Sometimes this takes on a formal expression. For example, f you’re passionate about food, you might take up cooking lessons or be a cooking instructor. Or if you just love food and eating, or consider yourself to be a foodie, you might join a weekly ‘Dining Group’ to heighten your already increased appreciation for all things gourmet. Sometimes our passions take a more informal expression. For example, even when we just tend to talk about it or refer to it a lot when we are with our friends–that’s discipleship! And in such cases, when our friends catch the same passions we have, guess what we’ve made of them? Converts.
My proposition is this. We ought not to be asking the ‘how’ question because we are already doing the ‘how.’ What we should instead be asking is the ‘what.’ What is the substance of our discipleship? What is our greatest passion in life which dominates our imaginations, conversations, and relationships? If our aim is to do Christian discipleship then the content of our discipleship must be Christ. He must be our all-consuming passion; the center of ALL our thoughts, actions, and speech. Otherwise, if we say we do Christian discipleship when Christ is absent in our lives, then our discipleship will be inauthentic.
Lastly, the goal of Christian discipleship should be EPIC. What do I mean? In Colossians 1:28-29 Paul writes, “[Christ is the one] whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present everyone perfect in Christ Jesus: For which I also labor, striving according to his working, who works in me mightily.” The goal is to present E-veryone P-erfect I-n C-hrist (EPIC). Discipleship is for every believer. Every believer ought to make disciples and ever believer ought to be a disciple as well–to the end that we all may be made to conform more and more into the likeness of Christ in this life and ultimately to be perfect (complete) in Him one day. This means that our Christian discipleship should seek to equally grow three areas in the person’s life: knowledge (head), character (heart), and service (hand). An imbalance of these three can lead to many complications that would ultimately hurt the church and the work of the gospel. Therefore let us strive by God’s grace to know Christ and to make Him known to all peoples—this is what Christian discipleship truly is!
—Pastor James (firstname.lastname@example.org)