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There is a difference between Evangelism and Discipleship

For approximately four years, a church which I attended was trying to develop a Discipleship Training Center. During our beginning stages, we polled the congregation to see what their experiences had been with Discipleship. To our surprise, the majority of them had no idea what discipleship was and the rest thought that Discipleship was synonymous with Evangelism. This misunderstanding was as prevalent among church leaders as it was among the laity.

For so many years there was a great emphasis on preaching the gospel and getting people saved but few were discipling those who got saved. Who of us would expect a newborn baby to raise itself? Yet we've expected new believers to become mature Christians without giving them the resources and support needed to succeed. No wonder there's so much confusion and spiritual immaturity in the Body of Christ.

I have been blessed to have a variety of discipleship experiences in my own life. I became a Christian and received some great discipleship through AWANA clubs. I had key individuals that would sit down with me one to one and walk through various topics of interest and/or need. I had another that fed me Scripture about things that were relevant to my life at the time. I went through a lot of Navigators material as a teenager and a young adult, and later in life, I went through some Campus Crusade materials. In discipling others, I have used various materials but most recently the Bill Bright's, "Ten Steps to Christian Maturity."

Personally, I think that we never outgrow the need for being discipled but if Discipleship is working correctly, it will lead to us discipling others.

I'm curious about the experiences that others have had in being discipled or discipling others. Will you share your story?

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Comment by George Krickl on October 25, 2010 at 10:13pm
My commentary is a sad one in regards to Discipleship. What I have viewed in churches where the Word of God was taught exceptionally is that there was an expectation (though never stated) that people can be self-discipled. I have been self-discipled and I wonder where I would be if somebody came along side me and discipled me. Due to my experience, and what I still see at the church where I attend, I have been involved in trying to come up with a philosophy for discipleship. I have been using what I have been learning in discipling my 17 year old son and I meet regularly with three other men to discuss discipleship and to do some peer to peer discipleship.

Bottom line is I am frustrated that the churches I have been in assume good teaching from the pulpit is a spark to self-discipleship...I disagree...there needs to be some hands on passing on of how to become more be like the Master Rabbi somebody more mature in the knowledge and experience of the Christian life....


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