Knowledge is great, but it is no replacement for skill.
If a man said, “I know every play in the playbook,” we wouldn’t automatically assume he is an NFL quarterback.
If a woman said, “I can name every bone in the human body,” we wouldn’t necessarily call her “doctor.”
And if someone said, “I know every planet in the solar system,” we wouldn’t jump to the conclusion that they were an astronaut.
So why is it that when a Christian shares a bit of Bible knowledge, we call them a “disciple?” Have we forgotten that discipleship is more than knowledge?
The word “disciple” simply means learner. But the idea is to learn more than knowledge. In the Great Commission, Jesus said to teach disciples to “obey” everything He taught. In other words, discipleship is a skill of learning to obey –not just learning to know.
Therefore, the fruit of discipleship is not merely the communication of facts about Christ, but instead a lifestyle that imitates Christ. To settle for anything less is to make students –not disciples.
Can you imagine what would happen if you took a man with football knowledge but no skill and put him on the field with 300 pound defensive linemen? Ouch.
Or what if you put a lady with knowledge about the skeletal system, but no medical training in charge of an emergency room? That would be a catastrophe.
So why do we assume that just because someone has attended Sunday School and church services all of their lives, they must be qualified to lead others to Christian maturity? Are we really convinced that Bible knowledge alone is the sole prerequisite for making disciples? If so, the demons would be qualified! (James 2:19)
So what should we look for in a disciple-maker? What kind of attributes qualify someone for Christian leadership? Here’s a few thoughts:
1) The ability to apply Scripture –not just quote it.
2) A consistent lifestyle of obedience to Christ.
3) A history of unselfish investment into the lives of others.
4) A continual pattern of growth through the practice of spiritual disciplines.
5) A tendency to life sacrificially for the cause of Christ.
So, whether you are a pastor looking for a new ministry leader, or a new believer looking for a mentor; look for more than knowledge –seek out skills!