Recently I’ve been interviewing people about their experiences (or lack thereof) with discipleship. However, I haven’t used the word “disciple” or “discipleship” in my discussions. Why?
Discipleship may be the most understood word in the church today. For some it means classes, for others it means preaching. Others equate it with special programs or extracurricular activities.
The problem is that since nobody can define discipleship its easy for everyone to consider themselves disciple-makers. After all, who’s going to tell them otherwise?
You may be wondering why this is such a big deal. It all comes back to the Great Commission -go and make disciples. That is our primary calling in life. What a tragedy it would be if we all got to the end of our lives thinking we had been fulfilling the great commission, only to find out we had missed it.
Maybe we would base our claim of “disciple” or “disciple-maker” on things like church attendance, good citizenship, or service in the church. The problem is, even an atheist could participate in those things. Its not the test of a disciple-maker.
It would be like a man showing up for a football game and telling the coach that just because he memorized the playbook and bought a uniform, he is a football player. He may dress the part and talk the part, but until he has been transformed into a football player, he is an imposter.
So what does it look like to be transformed into a disciple-maker? How do we define “discipleship?”