Integrating Discipleship

  I have a problem. It is selling the concept of “discipleship” in the church.
   In my talks with other pastors I realize I am not alone in my dilemma. So I am led to explore the reasons for the difficulty in fulfilling what Christ clearly commanded -- “Go and make disciples….” (Matthew 28:19a).
   Perhaps it’s the label itself that is off-setting. The word “disciple” is seen as out-dated, or unnecessary. Reality, however, points to its relevant nature, even in our contemporary culture.
   The connection between “discipleship” and “evangelism” may also be a challenge for some. It is the fear of the latter that gets in the way of taking a closer look at the fuller function of the former.
   And then there is the more obvious reality -- “Discipleship” is not a unique, intentional ministry in most churches. It is presumed to be present…or a sub-heading under a different name (i.e. “Christian Education,” Bible Study,” etc.). The outcome is most often a diminished vitality for Christ’s commissioning.
   It is important to note what Jesus did not say in this commissioning. His reference was not to “making evangelist”…or “church members.” He also did not mention “church boards”…or even “pastors.”

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