Tonight, I, along with 4 other men, will be embarking on, what I trust will be an exciting spiritual adventure. We are beginning a 6 month discipleship journey. We each come from varied denominational backgrounds and range in age from early twenties to mid fifties. The key is that we will be focusing on Jesus Christ and our desire to glorify His name in our individual lives. I am expecting the unexpected and I am anticipating foundational change in the lives of each of us as we submit our wills to that of Christ.
The course is set up to be self replicating, as each man, upon completion, should be equipped to lead his own group. We all attend different churches and this could be an opportunity for each one of us to bring this, or a similar program to our churches. I think this journey actually started for me a few months ago, when I met Dr. David Craig, a candidate for lead pastor at Berean Bible Church. Dr. Craig described the discipleship program he utilized to grow churches. I am not using Dr. Craig's program, but a hybrid program based on Oswald Sanders discipleship series and a study guide of my own design, but I am using the same principles explained to me by Dr. Craig.
I have been involved in discipleship in the past, but on a much smaller scale. I view the need and value of long term discipleship to be incalculable in today's church, as I see so much sin and Biblical ignorance in the Christian community at large. I hope to develop and implement a program that is relevant to today's society while at the same time, recognizing the unchanging doctrines and precepts taught in the Bible. One reason I am committed to discipleship is because many years ago, as a young believer, I was serving a church. I felt as if I needed some mentoring and guidance from a more seasoned believer and was not aware of the concept of discipleship. I contacted my pastor, who turned me over to an assistant pastor, and the assistant pastor told me that I was a self starter and did not need any help. I was serving and involved with quite a few ministries, but I was young and still growing in my faith and knowledge of the Word. Needless to say, I was left on my own and recognize how beneficial discipleship would have been to me. I want to provide the opportunity to others that I was denied.
I believe that God has blessed me with an opportunity to be involved in something that matters and can have long term value to the Christian community. I pray that as others around the country implement similar programs of discipleship, the church can experience revival and see meaningful outreach that does not sacrifice Biblical truth for numbers, as so many Emerging and purpose driven models seem to be doing. (Click on these links for examplse: Selling Jesus New Evangelicalism - book review on American culture )
Discipleship is something commanded by Christ and should not be replaced with evangelistic programs that merely attempt to "win souls". Evangelistic techniques that simply provide the plan of salvation, without intentional follow up and education are tantamount to creating a illegitimate spiritual babies and leaving them to fend for themselves. This type of evangelism is ineffectual and does not allow for lasting change in churches or communities. Discipleship offers the opportunity for people to become grounded in faith and to see that faith is a daily lifestyle choice, not a church membership issue.
I encourage every believer to be involved in the discipleship process, either in finding a program that can enrich your spiritual journey or in finding someone to mentor. Dr. Craig demonstrated to me that discipleship programs not only grow churches, but grows them through new conversions. I believe time is short, but I also believe there will be one more big move of God before the final trumpet. I believe that discipleship will be a key component to seeing that move take place.
As I am very passionate about this issue, I am willing to help anyone who is interested in embarking on this journey. Please leave your contact info in the comment section or contact me through Google + if there is anything I can do to help. I will be posting the progress of this program, and detailing what works and what does not work so well. I intend to create a complete program this year and will also make it available online at some point - God willing.
May God bless your spiritual journey!