Discipleship-Oriented Church

Does your church actively train people individually or in groups to do any or all of the following:

  • pray
  • read, understand and apply the Bible for themselves
  • give joyfully
  • forgive
  • fast
  • sacrifice
  • seek God for grace
  • worship that involves the whole person, affections as well as mind

I guess the answer is likely to be some but not all of those things. If the answer is no to most then you don't currently give a great deal of emphasis to discipleship. Why do you do the ones you do and not the others? The answer for me is that I tend to concentrate on the visible, measurable one, that I can tick off when a training course has been delivered on it. Which in turn tells me that I find it much easier to prioritise activities than relationships and skills training over discipling people in godly character.

Discipling in godly character while being no less deliberate is long term, relationship-intensive, involves friendship of depth, use of my home and hospitality. But most of all it involves a mindset that this is more foundational to work for than skills and knowledge. In my vicinity everyone is so busy that it is very hard to see how to so establish church expectations and structures to prioritise discipleship, and much easier to see how to do good front-led activities and services. Therefore the drift will always be away from a small, intentional relational discipleship model, towards a larger, less personal and intentional main teaching meeting style model.

The Apostle Paul's model was that he wanted to lead the people in "progress in the Lord and joy in the faith." The foundation of growing the church is growing people and this is how we are meant to work for growth. In turn receiving grace is the foundation for joy in the Lord, because it is only receiving grace that enables us to put our confidence exclusively in Jesus.

Therefore the task of discipling (in fact the foundational task of all leadership), the core of gospelling each other, is to seek God for his grace with people.