A few weeks ago I asked the question, “How do we know when we are making disciples?”  I have been pondering and searching the scriptures for the process that Jesus used to transform the hearts and minds of the ordinary men into disciples. Here are a few conclusions.   Discipleship is spiritual formation.  There is no one set plan that will work for everyone.  We all have experienced different things in our lives and at the point of confessing with our mouth and believing in our heart that Jesus Christ is Lord the path to spiritual maturity places everyone in the wilderness.  Jesus spent 40 days and nights in the wilderness after his baptism and being anointed by the Holy Spirit to commence his earthly ministry.  This is the place new believers find themselves. No longer having the support of the past life but not really sure about how to take hold of this new life in Christ.  The salvation process can be localized to an event but discipleship is an undetermined length of time.  For some it is shorter than others but to grow in the Word and in the knowledge of God the new believer must choose to grow. When people intentionally engage a process of learning to live more like Christ they grow in their faith, their ability to totally trust God increases and in their commitment to the Kingdom of God.  This is true discipleship. Too many churches have new member classes that indoctrinate you to their denomination and their church rather into Christ.   

Romans 10: 16-1716But not all the Israelites accepted the good news. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our message?”17Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.

Discipleship must be more than reading scriptures and Bible study for the sake of knowledge. Discipleship must teach people to embrace and to live the scriptures.  The Israelites knew the scripture but not all accepted Christ.  The desire to actually live the scriptures pushes people beyond worshipping rituals. The rituals of our religion require no faith just attendance. Yes the rituals have meaning and yes the meaning within the ritual can have significance to an individual but no ritual that I can think of demands an act of faith in the participants.  Some people have argued that tithing is a ritual that requires faith. I will grant that concession but 80% of those who attend church do not tithe. The measure of a disciple is that they give generously with 10% being the beginning bench mark. “What does the Gospel of Jesus Christ have to do with my everyday business?” As discipleship leaders we must help people to discover the answer to this question. This is challenging people to exercise their faith and trust in God.  This process is dynamic in nature because we can tell the Christian story, dialogue about the impact of the story in our lives and then have a vision of God’s new reality for our lives and those who we are discipling. Growing toward Christian maturity is actually a life long process but the goal must be clear and in front of people.  Otherwise they follow the leader and never become leaders in the Body of Christ. Spiritually immature men and women can not lead unchurched, pre-Christians into a deep committed faith filled life. 

 Committed to Making Disciples by being a servant leader!