What does biblical discipleship look like? Is it found in a Sunday school class? Or perhaps in a worship service? What about Bible study groups? While all of these may contain discipleship, discipleship is not necessarily contained in them.
Discipleship could be divided into two main categories: planned and unplanned. Planned discipleship specifically calls aside persons for spiritual training.
Both are intentional, both are vital. Both are modeled by Jesus.
Jesus had more than twelve disciples. The word disciple is used in the gospels to describe hundreds of people who followed Christ during his ministry on earth.
Unplanned discipleship included everyone Christ came in contact with –he was constantly teaching as a lifestyle.
Unplanned does not mean unprepared. We are called to always be prepared to give an answer for the hope that is within us. (I Peter3:15)
We participate in unplanned discipleship through our lifestyle as God brings people into our path (its never unplanned to Him). Praying with a hurting co-worker, discussing Scripture with a friend, and serving our neighbor are all examples of unplanned discipleship. It’s simply living Christ-like before all men.
While we must practice unplanned discipleship, the Great Commission simultaneously points us toward something deeper.
Jesus calls us to both unplanned and planned discipleship.
In the midst of the crowd of disciples, Christ specifically called the twelve apostles for more intimate training. Planned discipleship is the concentrated training of disciple-makers.
When it comes to planned discipleship, we take a more focused approach. Planned discipleship deals with a few, intentionally selected people. Even within the twelve, Jesus had three he concentrated on the most: Peter, James, and John. Planned discipleship isn’t random or haphazard. Instead, it is strategic and intentional. To follow Christ’s example, we must prayerfully choose people to pour our lives into.