Discipleship is a term we throw around in church. If you have spent any time at church, you have heard someone mention that we need more discipleship! The question is, what is biblical discipleship? Is it simply a class, a small group or a program? Is it something more? The goal of discipleship is to become like Jesus (aka: sanctification). But many miss what discipleship really means because of their own definition.
Two extremes in understanding discipleship:
Intellectual Bible Nerds: All they want to do is go "deeper" in knowledge (modern day pharisees). The tendency is to sit around a cup of coffee and debate for hours about the eschatological understandings of church history. Their superior "knowledge" puffs them up. I went to Bible college with some people in this category. The same people who would debate theology for hours would sleep in on Sundays and wouldn't serve at a local church. The danger arises when they completely miss a deeper commitment to reaching out to a lost with the gospel.
Lazy Bible Illiterates: All they want to do is hang out and talk about their problems, issues and "prayer requests" (aka gossip). The tendency is to discount personal Bible study because they are too busy serving others. They discount the importance of studying and knowing their Bible. This person will rarely teach the Bible but use books about the Bible. They think the Bible has lost its relevance and is too hard to understand. The danger arises when they completely miss that in order to become like Christ, you must know His Word.
The biblical model of discipleship is much more than these extreme examples. Jesus calls us to make disciples (Matthew 28:19-20) and love one another (Matthew 22:37-40). A disciple is one who makes disciples. It is the deep love for God's Word AND people. A disciple is transformed by Jesus through salvation and grows daily to make more disciples. The motivation is to know God's Word because you want to know God! The growth of the relationship with God will then pour out. It will pour out in small decisions and in every relationship. The Holy Spirit will give strength to help make disciples. Instead of being a reservoir of knowledge, we need to be a river of hope to this world. We are the channel to be used by God to reach out to a lost and broken world. Disciples who make disciples get messy. Let's roll up our sleeves and go deeper in our love for God's Word and for people.