What is Discipleship?
Over the years, discipleship ministries have been based on the understanding that disciple is synonymous with "learner." This was easy and convenient. We could teach what it means to be a disciple. So, the Church developed a very academic approach to equipping disciples, like year-long bible studies called Disciple for example. More and more people learned about Jesus. That's great, but missed the point:
Discipleship is not just learning about Jesus; it is becoming like Jesus.
Discipleship is not just about education; it is about transformation.
Discipleship is not just about knowledge; it is about behaviors.
A disciple is a follower of Jesus Christ who is committed to: 1) becoming a part of the Body of Christ; 2) becoming more like Jesus; and, 3) joining Jesus in ministry. There is no one formula for making disciples, but if we focus on these three commitments, perhaps we can agree that becoming a part of the Body of Christ includes living a life of hospitality and a life of worship; becoming more like Jesus involves opening to the teachings of Jesus and then obeying the most basic commands of Jesus; and, joining Jesus in ministry is reflected in a life of service and generous giving.
The Apostle Paul urged his friends to grow into maturity and completeness. John Wesley used the language of "Christian perfection." Whichever way we look at it, from the very beginning discipleship has been a journey toward the fullness of life that is offered to us in Jesus Christ. Many find it helpful to have a companion on this journey of self-discovery and transformation.
If you would like to know about working with a Discipleship Coach or Spiritual Director, Pastor Warren or Annelise Clifton would welcome the opportunity to talk to you one-on-one or in a small group. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Join us this Sunday at First United Methodist Church in Ponchatoula as The Well gathers at 11:15 a.m. to explore together what it means to be a disciple. This week: A Life of Worship.