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Rethinking Discipleship…

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I subscribed to Roy’s blog. He just had a post on discipleship that reminded of the course I took earlier this year. The post is called, More thoughts on discipleship.

Information doesn’t guarantee transformation. Information alone doesn’t change people. If it does, what’s our excuse? Never before has the American church been so resourced. There’s been a big disconnect between the head and the heart. Discipleship isn’t merely about information download. Too often we have treated discipleship like a classroom. But Jesus didn’t disciple in a classroom. It was life on life.

Never equate longevity with maturity. It is possible to be in the church a long time but not have increasing evidence of Jesus’ indwelling. Any congregation can become a spiritual club, where members are merely infants in diapers. They just come to church to sit and soak. If that is all people do, they will never grow. Spiritual transformation is never passive.

The measurement of discipleship is obedience. Nothing more, nothing less. I would add this qualifier that we don’t want obedience stemming from legalism, but rather a person whose heart and life is captured by the love of the gospel.

Disciples aren’t made effectively in classes. There’s no way around it: time, time, more time. Coffee, coffee, more coffee. One conversation, then another. Classes are components but shouldn’t be the main method. Disciples are made within the messiness of real life. There is no substitute for it. People want to see how faith intersects real issues, struggles and challenges in life. You can’t teach that in a classroom.

Last night over coffee, a brother and I discussed about church and the length of time that one should stay in it. My thoughts on this is that a member need to stay in the church for a long time (2-3 years plus).

I do not think God will tell a member to jump from one church to another (exception is pastors/missionaries but even in their case, it takes years for them to do God’s work…not months). Recently, I hear a number of brothers and sisters jumping from another church for various reasons. Some do not feel the church fit their needs and some is looking for another church for relationship.

When it comes to a church, local church, I see that as a community of Christian serving and growing with one another. It is difficult, if not impossible, to do so without spending years to foster the relationship and trust allow the discussion deeper issues (sins, personal problems).

Without exploring deeper issues, spiritually growth will be hindered. And to develop these relationships, it takes time. A whole load of it.

Better program does not speed up the process. Better structure does not speed up the process. Better leadership does not speed up the process. It is as the post described, time, time and more time. Coffee, coffee and more coffee.

In a culture where pace of life is ever increasing, it becomes easy to get distracted and forget that even Jesus, a man God, spent three years with his disicples.

He could simply come down from Heaven, give them a Bible, and then crucify for our sins. Nope. He spent three years living, traveling, breathing, eating with the twelve. He didn’t hurry up the process. He simply live lives with them.

Can the disciple method that Jesus had done 2000 years ago still applicable today? Can I transform my life to where I can simply live lives with others?

Despite the soceity where we are moving ever faster, I see there is a huge need for people to be real and genuine. I can even argue fundamentally that’s what people need (this is why Starbucks enviornment are so popular, a place for people to be real).

When it comes to discipling, I have changed in how I disciple. The hard part is not the planning and the program. The hard part is strategically giving myself free time so I can freely ‘disciple‘ others. This often involve clearing out my schedule and purposely not doing anything so I can let God give me opportunity to serve.

And this is hard. When I am tempted to do more and fill in more and living in a society where doing nothing is perceived as lazyiness and not ‘good’ use of time.

When it comes to the best investment, it is not money or effort that I place my bet on. It is time. Time is always scarce and once it is gone, it’s gone. Everyone is given 24 hr a day, 60 min an hour. Nothing more and nothing else. And since it takes years to disciple others…why not start today?

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