Here’s what many people think discipleship is:
Pastoral care. This is when you get together with someone – regularly or on occasion – to pray with each other, to read the Bible together, and generally care for each other over a cup of coffee or tea (1 Thes 5:11). This is great! It’s shepherding and showing love at its finest. Keep doing stuff like this.
Teaching. This is when you take a class or meet with someone to gain knowledge of the Word, will, and ways of God (2 Tim 2:2). We’re supposed to be increasing in knowledge, so of course, teaching is a really good thing. There are always more things to learn, so keep doing this too.
Evangelism. This is when you’re sharing the gospel with non-believers with the hope that they come to faith in Jesus (Mt 4:19). Yes, yes, yes, everyone should be doing this! Don’t stop doing this.
Mentoring: This is really about growing in the grace and knowledge of Jesus (2 Pt 3:18). Typically, this involves a more mature Christian taking the time (often many years) to pour his or her life experiences of Jesus into a newer believer to help him or her mature in faith. This is rich, amazing and just doesn’t happen often enough. If you have this type of relationship in your life, treasure it.
While the above four views of discipleship are filled with love, care and encouragement with the aspiration to pass on knowledge, wisdom, and experience (which are all absolutely great things), none of them are focused on the intention of making disciples; disciples who will then go on to make more disciples.
If you’ve been involved in one of these relationships or activities - ask yourself this question, “Whom have I trained to be a disciple and did they ever go on to make another disciple…who went on to make yet another disciple?” If you’re like many Christians, you’ll have trouble coming up with names, but that can all change!
To find out what discipleship really is: