Discipleship is one of those topics that we talk about a
lot in the church. Every church does discipleship in some
form, yet most churches admit that this is an area with
which they struggle to be effective and fruitful.
But discipleship existed long before even the Great
Commission of Jesus. There were disciples of Moses,
disciples of the Pharisees, and even disciples of John
the Baptist.Discipleship happens in relationships. It’s a
“contact sport.” When we want to help someone grow as a
disciple, our first impulse should not be to give them a book
or training guide (although these may be helpful resources)
and send them off to a corner to process what they’re
reading. We invite them into a relationship with someone
further along the path of discipleship.
It is important to note that in contrast to the perspective
of many congregations, discipleship is about how we live
rather than what we know. This discipler (partner) walks
alongside the disciple. When the junior partner doesn’t
understand something, the discipler explains it. When
they stumble, we help them up and dust them off. When
they start off on a “rabbit trail,” we bring them back to
focus. When they need a helping hand, we reach out. Good
disciplers help people see the end-goal of the process
(becoming more like Jesus). They help the disciple keep
their eyes on the target.
In Discipleship in the New Expedition, Phil Maynard helps
readers understand and initiate the steps leading God’s call
to discipleship. Each church’s discipleship process looks
different. The most important thing to remember is that a
church needs an intentional discipleship process in place.
Without an intentional discipleship process/pathway, the
church will not be fulfilling the Great Commission.