Equipping Your Reimagine Journey
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LOVE2020.com Support Team
(Is the Church truly producing disciples?)
I recently spoke to a former congregational attendee about this. He had asked his congregation about discipling others and was told that discipleship happens in Sunday school. That particular congregation seems not to be practicing Biblical discipleship.
At the particular congregation I attend, I am the only one bringing young men with whom I'm meeting. Those who seem to be in charge are older men who do not have disciples - or if they do, the disciples are not in the congregational meeting them.
(Are those disciples reproducing disciples ... who make disciples?)
I'm meeting with a young man who attends another local congregation. He says that group is interested in making campuses rather than disciples. He is talking with two others who attend his congregation about the idea of meeting together for Bible study, but it is not yet his lifestyle.
Over the years I've been making disciples (and I use the term loosely), my producing disciples has been paltry at best; but I'm not going to give up. A young active duty Air Force man I've been meeting with for the past five years has been practicing his discipling techniques and is attempting to encourage an even younger active duty man to be pursuing this "disciples making disciples" idea. He is practicing discipling others as he has been discipled.
(Can disciple-making be successful if evangelism is absent from the lifestyle of the disciples?)
Paul wrote to Timothy: "Do the work of an evangelist (2 Tim 4:5)." Timothy, being shy, needed this word of encouragement from his discipler/mentor about including evangelism in his life. Paul knew evangelism would be a/the means of finding the "others" of 2 Tim 2:2; therefore, his admonition to his disciple Timothy - especially since Paul knew he would not be around to do the evangelizing.
If you will permit me to use Romans 10:13-15 a little out of context to make the point that evangelism must occur:
13“Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” 14How, then, can they call on the One they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the One of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone proclaiming to them? 15And how can anyone proclaim unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”
If we take the steps backward, as it were, starting with "The Good News is proclaimed by those who are sent (v15). What is proclaimed is heard (v14), the One who is proclaimed about is believed in (v14), those who believe call on that One (v14), and 'everyone who calls on the Name of the Lord will be saved (v13)'". (I think this is said arightly.) These steps backward bring forward the idea that evangelism must occur and those who are evangelized must be evangelizing others.
Hi – I’m new to this forum, but the questions are ones I’ve thought a lot about (given an early introduction to the Navigators several decades ago).
Given that the gospel that was preached in the first century caused men and women to become disciples of Jesus (and at a later time those in Antioch were called Christians), one must ask if we are today preaching the same gospel. Does the gospel the church communicates today lead people to becoming a disciple (student) of Jesus. Hmmm...
And I note that for one to be a disciple in no way indicates any particular level of maturity, but nonetheless that person has decided to look to Jesus as their Teacher (for life). I like the approach Dallas Willard put forth whereby he uses the word apprentice as an alternate word for disciple – i.e. I am learning from Jesus how to live my life in the Kingdom of God (under the rule and reign of God) the way Jesus would live my life if He were I. So I would rephrase the questions using that word, in order to give more substance to our calling. I found the book The Divine Conspiracy to be pivotal in my thinking about discipleship from a New Testament perspective. Has anyone else read Willard’s books in thinking about disciple-making?
I would add that a response to the gospel ought to be that one decides to become a student/ apprentice of Jesus. Then the next focus is helping that person cultivate a “with-God” kind of life – learning to take Jesus with them into everything they do. In that context they then can address learning how to do all things Jesus commanded (an engaged life in spiritual transformation – which has a natural outflow with others).