First of a Series on Discipleship

Friday, January 26, 2007
I am going to be laying out an idea for how to raise up mature, Christ-like disciples. We must figure out how to mature new believers, and believers in the faith. I read a book called "The Master Plan for Evangelism" by Robert Coleman. Coleman wrote this back in the 60's, and drew all of his ideas from the example of how Jesus evangelized the lost, and then matured these believers. This is extremely important to each and every Christian, and most importantly the Bride of Christ, the Church.

There are some buzz words that Churches throw around today. Maybe you have heard some of them: Missional, Social Justice, authentic, relational, organic, but the biggest one that isn't exactly new, discipling (disciple, discipleship). This is one that is huge in the Church today. Now since it has been used before, what did it look like, and what did the Church do for discipleship?

Well, our parents' (and grandparents') Churches delegated discipleship to the Sunday School classes, in hope that discipleship would happen between the Sunday school teacher and those that were in the classes. Now some from that era, and the one before, say that it was successful because some classes have been in existence for generations. They have been meeting in the same room, with pretty much the same people, for 50 years. Well, don't hear me shooting down what the Churches of old have done, but that way of doing it fits perfectly with the way they live life. Our grandparents worked at the same job for 30-50 years before retirement, our parents had some of that in their blood but as they got older and the culture started to change, they would do the job dating game.

Now how does any of this relate to discipleship? We need to recover some of what our grandparents did, a little of what our parents were all about, and also understand the culture that we live in.

To our contemporary culture, the idea of quality, consistent relationships, and change happening in a classroom setting is almost offensive. They are completely against someone throwing information at them (hence their dislike of preaching, not at all saying we don't need to preach anymore, really and truly we need to be even stronger preachers than we have been). The small group idea (of the 80's and 90's) is still effective but it is still not exactly what this culture is looking for, they want small groups of communities. I want you to think back, way far back into times past, think to Plato, Aristotle, Jewish Rabbi's, Greeks, and Romans. How did they do any sort of instructing? These teachers of old would walk in life with those that they were discipling. Formal schooling, for the most part, happened by the the teacher imparting portions of wisdom by having a few pupils, and spending consistent, quality time with the people that were under their tutelage. From this came some of the greatest minds of the age.

Now what I want you to see is the imparting of wisdom from a teacher to a small group of students. Biblically, we see with John the Baptist with his disciples, Eli with Samuel, Jesus and his disciples, Paul, Peter, Phillip etc...

Check out the Gospels, Story of Young Samuel, the Book of Acts, I II Timothy, Titus.