I'm sad. I'm concerned. I'm scared. Here's why.
I think we have a discipleship crisis. Globally, perhaps.
Many, many people just are NOT being discipled. Or discipling others. Africa and much of the west is over-evangelized and under-discipled.
Let me just define what I mean when I use the word "discipleship." I think that someone is discipling you if:
- You have a meaningful and totally authentic realtionship with someone who focusses on your spirtual growth and followership of Jesus. If there are secrets, it is not real discipleship.
- You meet regulalry. Weekly, biweekly or monthly. (Nice when coffee or food is involved.) Meeting less often than once a month will not bear the fruit your life needs.
- You are challenged, encouraged, confronted and loved on.
- You are being coached toward obedience to Jesus and are being held accountable in that obedience.
- It could be a spiritual Father or Mother or even a mature peer. But the point is that they care for your soul and the main agenda is Jesus, not small talk. Spirttual more than natural.
"GO and make disciples of all nations, baptize them and teach them to obey all that I have commanded you." Matthew 28:19-20
"You have heard me teach things that have been confirmed by many reliable witnesses. Now teach those truths to other trustworthy people who will be able to pass them on to others." 2 Tim. 2:2
Now, let me put in very specific and personal terms:
- Yesterday I met with a 24 year old who has been a Christian for 10 years. He has never been discipled one on one. No one has ever asked about his soul, his heart! Ever. I see major potential in him. When I offered to enter into a discipling relationship, you would have thought I gave him a new car. Broke me.
- My sister is visiting with us now. She shared with me that in 33 years of being "in the church" no one has ever initiated a discipling relationship with her. (Share this with her permission.)
- Tricia is being actively discipled and actively discipling another for the first time in her life right now.
- One young man that I am currently discipling has held high leadership position in his church for the last 5 years. Not a single one of the multiple Pastors or Elders in the church have ever discipled him. God help us.
- When I was in the Pastorate, I did not disciple a single person with any long term intentionality in the terms described above. Yes, I am embarassed to admit this.
- I am not even sure whether I was being discipled myself...through Bible College...and as a Pastor.
Honestly, almost every single Christian I meet is not being actively discipled....or discipling another. And the efffects are detrimental. I think that true discipleship is the conduit to the gift the world is waiting for....JESUS!
Are you being discipled? Are you discipling others? Is your experience different? Am I just missing it and sounding an uneccesary alarm? I hope so. Please tell me your expereince. Comment.