Tag Archives: maturity

Rediscovering Discipleship – A review

rediscovering-discipleship

Rediscovering Discipleship is by far the best one I have read on discipleship, ever. This book, as the subtitle says is really all about “making Jesus’ final words our first work” (front cover). Unfortunately, in many churches, discipleship is more a program or something left for the “professional ministers” instead of something pursued and engaged in by every follower of Christ. One could make the claim this has done more harm to God’s church than any sin. Ed Stetzer, in the foreword, makes this statement: “The Bible tells us that we should be conscious of ourselves and of our teaching…In other words, it matters how you are growing and how you’re leading your people to grow” (p. 11).

Here is how Robby defines discipleship:

Discipleship is intentionally equipping believers with the Word of God through accountable relationships empowered by the Holy Spirit in order to replicate faithful followers of Christ. (p. 155)

Discipleship should not simply be a committee in a church, or even a program, it should be the life of the church. Discipleship should describe how a church grows, how it lives and breathes. Discipleship should be at the root of everything done in the church. If the ultimate goal and purpose of a program or event is not discipleship, what is it? For many, it simply stops after evangelism. After an individual is “hooked” they are left to themselves. There is nobody there to help them take the next steps in their walk with the Lord. This is extremely detrimental to the life of any church because many churches stop there. After someone makes a profession of faith they are left to figure things out on their own. But that is not how it should be, once someone has made a profession of faith, the work of discipleship begins.

The author quotes Heather Zempel, the leader of the discipleship ministry at National Community Church in Washington, DC:

The first model of discipleship that we see in history is the Relational model, which was the dominant approach to spiritual growth during the first few centuries of the church. It is built upon the premise that discipleship will occur naturally when Christians live in community with one another. Relational discipleship was vitally important during the early church because there was no New Testament and there were very few copies of Old Testament writings available to the common people. Spiritual truths were conveyed through the stories of the apostles and their letters to the churches. (p. 92)

Robby then follows that with this statement perfectly showing what happened to this movement, or the church:

Unfortunately, what began as a grass roots, relational movement eventually turned into a structured hierarchy that quenched efforts at discipling those not pursuing professional ministry roles. The common understanding of the church changed from being a people to a place, from a body to a building. The ministry was seen as something done exclusively by the clergy, while the laity sat idle and took on a more passive role. Institutionalized ministry replaced individualized ministry. (p. 92)

Perfect way to describe what has actually happened in the church throughout history. Discipleship is how the church reproduces itself and remains alive and growing. Discipleship is how God molds His children into the image of His Son. When discipleship is simply reduced to another program offered by the church, we suffer and the church suffers. God desires fully devoted followers of Him, not partially committed followers who only come to Him when life gets hard or when they need something. God is molding and shaping us into the image of His Son and discipleship is how God does this.

From the time Jesus called His first disciples to His crucifixion, Jesus was involved in discipleship. He was training them, preparing them for/ life after He ascended into heaven. This was God’s plan A from the very beginning and there is no plan B. God does not see discipleship as optional like many churches do. He sees it as foundational.

One of the main reasons I enjoyed this book so much is because it really helps paint the picture of what discipleship should be all about. It is not a difficult read but is encouraging and refreshing in that it explains what discipleship is all about and should be all about, and then goes into application by helping the reader understand how they can actually disciple someone. The last part will serve to be extremely beneficial for the Christian who has wanted to disciple but just does not know how.

Here are a couple quotes from the book:

Train yourself and your people not to be impressed with success in the church that does not accomplish the goal set forth by Christ: making disciples. (p. 23)

Discipleship has an end goal: to be conformed into the image of Christ – to talk the way He talked, walk the way He walked, and respond the way He responded. (p. 79)

Discipleship wasn’t a ministry of the first-century church. It was the ministry of the church…shouldn’t it be ours as well? (p. 85)

Just remember, you cannot microwave disciples. It’s a crock-pot recipe. And it takes time for maturity to take root. The wait is long, but the results are worth it. (p. 138)

Fortunately, Jesus, in His infinite wisdom, did not prescribe for us a single model of how to disciple. Instead, He gave us a mandate: Make disciples! He didn’t give us a single process; he left us with several principles and showed us by His own examples. (p. 154)

A church member once said to me, “your talk talks and your walk walks, but your walk talks louder than your talk talks.” The way you live speaks volumes about the degree of disciple-making taking place in your church.

Rediscovering Discipleship is all about what the title says, rediscovering discipleship. If you are involved in church leadership, a volunteer, or someone who has just begun their faith journey, this book is for you. It will help you understand how intentional and purposeful God is with His children. He does not simply want people to place their faith in Him and then live life how they want to. Choosing to respond to Jesus’ call to follow Him is just the beginning. After responding to the call is when the work really begins, and does not end until our lives end. Get this book, read it and apply it. You will be glad you did. I just think, if every Christian in the world were to take what this book says to heart, apply it and make disciples, there would be no more unreached people in the world today. Besides, what more motivation do we need to make disciples than the fact we are commanded to by Jesus?

 In compliance with regulations introduced by the Federal Trade Commission, I received a complimentary copy of this book from Cross Focused Media LLC in exchange for this review.

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One Of The Most Important Questions You Might Ever Ask

As an individual, I am constantly striving to improve. Because of this, there is one thing I do regularly, at least a couple times a month that I would highly recommend for you as well. I listen to the Andy Stanley Leadership Podcast. It does not matter what you do, you could work in fast-food, retail, banking, ministry, or anything else. This podcast is updated once a month and each update is worth your time. Why? Andy Stanley is one of the most well-known leaders in the country and God has clearly gifted him in this area and this is a free way for you to enrich your life both as a person and as a leader. All of us in one way or another are leaders and most of the things we can do to become better at it is worth our time. I highly recommend you find this podcast and subscribe to it.

The podcast I listened to was The Art of Inviting Feedback and it was divided into two parts. This podcast featured a guest, Clay Scroggins. Clay first served as an intern at North Point then became a part-time employee and now he is employed full-time by North Point as campus pastor of their Browns Bridge campus. Clay was recently given the opportunity to come before the staff at North Point and present this outline he had come up with recently. This outline was all about the art of inviting feedback and this apparently began a series of conversations among staff at North Point that has helped it continue to be the church it is and reach the number of people it does every week. Within this outline was a question and on the podcast, they spend most of their time discussing this question. You might be asking: what is the question? Here it is:

If you were me, what would you do differently?

On the surface, it may seem like a simple question, but as you contemplate it, this question is has a ton of power to help someone grow. How? It invites feedback that will be beneficial to someone’s growth and maturity as a person. First off, as they talk about on the podcast, it requires humility. No one will ask this question if they are prideful. Simply put, this question does not allow room for pride. The very essence of the question comes from a position of humility in that if someone is truly asking this question, they are inviting feedback. As I listened, I was challenged to ask this question of people who know me. As someone looking to constantly improve, one of my best resources is the people who know me. Many times, they can provide wisdom and insight I might be missing. I am one who is prone to give myself a better review than someone else might so a good way for me to figure out what other people think I could do better is to simply ask them. This is something I wish I had known while I was still in college and working a couple part-time jobs because I could have been a better employee. However, in my pride, I never thought to ask this question.

Along with that, asking this question also requires maturity. When you ask this question, you are putting yourself in a position for people to be honest. And more often than not, there will be people who cannot wait for you to ask this question so they can give you a piece of their mind. Some might hold a grudge against you or be jealous of your accomplishments or anything else and what they share might come as a personal attack instead of constructive criticism or encouragement. With these people, you need to be willing to take what they say and sift through it because even the people who dislike you the most can still offer you pieces of wisdom worth considering. Maturity comes in by being able to think through what they say and not respond in the same manner they do but being caring and patient with them.

So, once again, this question requires humility and maturity. If you are not humble enough to want to ask someone this question, you should definitely make a point to ask someone. Once you are humble enough to ask, remember you need to be mature with whatever feedback you receive. This question has the potential to be one of the most life-changing questions you ever ask someone, not for them, but for you.

As I said, I do not take credit for everything written here, it is simply my words put to a topic presented on the Andy Stanley Leadership Podcast. I am not getting paid anything by them to promote this podcast I just know it has been extremely beneficial to me and wanted to share something I learned with you. So check it out.