What does discipleship look like in your ministry? Are you pleased with it? Are there disciples who are producing disciples? Tough questions…
Listen to what Dallas Willard has to say on the subject of discipleship:
“What you present as the gospel, will determine what you present as discipleship. If you present as the gospel what is essentially a theory of the atonement and you say if you accept this theory of the atonement, your sins are forgiven and when you die you will be received into heaven, there is no basis for discipleship. I ask pastors,
“does your gospel have a natural tendency to produce disciples?”
By disciple I mean someone who is learning from Jesus how to lead their life as he would lead their life if he were in their place. The New Testament defines a disciple as someone who is with Jesus learning how to be more like him. But if your gospel focuses on the gospel of the kingdom, that we are invited to live in the kingdom of God then the basis for discipleship becomes clear. The new birth should be seen as an entrance into the kingdom of God. John Chapter 3 is not a ‘forgiveness of sins’ passage but a new life from above passage. Forgiveness from sins is essential – but it is not the whole package. One of the main barriers is that people see the teachings of Christ as laws that they have to obey. They are not. They are expressions of the life that comes to you, through the new birth and is naturally disposed to develop a new kind of person inside.”
Our presentation of the gospel message will naturally dictate what discipleship will be. Does your ministry have a big enough gospel to not only forgive people of their sins and promise them heaven one day but also give significance to their life here and now?