Classic Discipleship Redefined

Are there different paths to discipleship?

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Classic discipleship relationship (D.R.) is what I had always thought of as my objective. Here’s what I thought true discipleship was for many years because I had experienced this same pattern over and over. A man would call me and say, “I heard about what you do and was wondering if maybe we could get together. You see I know I’m supposed to be surrendered, but I just don’t know how. Would you help me with that?”

We would then begin to meet on a weekly basis at the same time for about 2 hours for a number of months. I would ask him what he was struggling with and as he began to describe it, he’d reveal some lie that he was living and believing. Then, I would point out that scripture does not say that, show him an applicable passage and have him read it out loud to me and have him explain what he saw and understood. If you do this week after week, a man begins to fall in love with the Person of Jesus Christ and discovers his true identity in Christ. He also learns to do the same thing with me…point out the lies that I’m living and believing. I‘m being further discipled by him. Then he eventually gets asked the same question he originally asked me by someone in his circle of influence… “You see I know I’m supposed to be surrendered, but I just don’t know how. Would you help me with that?” I would call that the classic D.R. (Discipleship Relationship).

Presently, I realize that I have fewer D.R.’s and more trouble shooting relationships. I get a lot of calls with guys wanting feedback on a range of issues from marriage, trouble with children, communication, financial troubles, loss of employment, etc. They just need someone to listen to them and point back to the wisdom of God. Sometimes, in listening, I say very little, and hear them think out loud about the issue and come to their own conclusion…landing on truth that they already know. So, I historically have not considered that Discipleship.

I am now inclined to think that I’ve been wrong.

Does that kind of limited-specific interaction qualify to be called discipleship? I now believe it does. I think this, not because of my experience, but because of the way Jesus defined “Making Disciples” in Matthew 18 (thanks to my friend Chuck bringing up the subject of Discipleship at Men Step Up.)   That has to be our standard…what Jesus said, not the way we extrapolate what He said.

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