What is Discipleship?
"A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher." (Luke 6:40)
The followers of Jesus were all called his disciples. That’s 100% true. However, it’s equally true that the followers of Jesus were called to be fully trained disciples of Jesus…who would go on to make other disciples (Mt 28:18-20; Lk 6:40). The reality is that many Christians today identify as disciples of Jesus, but aren’t actively involved in any form of discipleship. Why is that? In part, it’s because it’s assumed that all Christians are by default disciples, therefore they can wear the discipleship “label,” even though they really don’t understand what discipleship is all about. That’s right, being a trained disciple who makes disciples doesn’t come naturally, with age or even by going to church; it only comes about with motivation, intentionality and training.
Here’s What the FT16 Discipleship Program is:
And he said to them, “Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like a master of a house, who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old.” (Mt 13:52)
You can think of the FT16 Discipleship Program as a sort of boot camp training for Christians – minus the drill sergeant, running and shaved heads. This program is designed to establish a one-on-one relationship between two Christians with the purpose of working through basic discipleship building blocks toward the shared goal of learning to become a disciple who makes disciples. The program covers sixteen essential topics, giving you practical tasks to complete along the way. It consists of four modules, Come on Board, Learn the Ropes, Join the Crew, and Set Sail, each module building on the one before it. One of the final steps in the program is actually helping to make a disciple. How exciting is that?
Another way to view the FT16 Program is to liken it to the process of becoming an Eagle Scout. One major Boy Scout requirement to becoming an Eagle Scout is to complete twenty-one merit badges. In a way, each of the sixteen discipleship building blocks in our discipleship program is like one merit badge. To receive each “merit badge,” you need to learn a certain Christian discipline, apply it to your life and understand it well enough to be able to train someone else in it. Upon completion of this program, you won't become an Eagle Scout, but you will become a Christian with the foundational capabilities of creating disciples for Jesus.
You could also liken our discipleship program to the process of laying the stones of a foundation for a house. In this case, there are sixteen foundational stones (discipleship building blocks) that need to be set properly for you to start building your house. Without each of these stones being properly set, your spiritual foundation will end up being a bit shaky. However, if you give care to each one, your spiritual house will be well-grounded, which will allow you to build your house up by making disciples for the extension of the kingdom of God.
Okay, so once I complete the program, will I be a fully trained disciple?
No, sorry, no you won’t. However, you will be trained enough to start making disciples for Jesus Christ. At its core, that’s really what discipleship is all about. Be encouraged to know that you don’t have to know everything to start off; you just need to get a handle on the essentials. Finally, keep in mind, discipleship isn’t a program in which you check off sixteen boxes, complete the program and then you’re done; rather it’s a rich, rewarding and perpetual process that will take an entire lifetime to complete.
To start the FT16 Discipleship Program:
"Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." Matthew 28:19-20