Thank you for joining me in our focus on discipleship. I wish I could tell you that I had this mapped out precisely but I don’t. I don’t because I don’t think you can do that with any level of precision. Trips can be planned with some precision. Expeditions cannot.
Expeditions are different because their purpose is not about just getting there. Their purpose is to explore. The growth occurs along the way. Discipleship is a journey rather than just a destination. It is both but you shortchange it if you only focus on getting there. Half the fun of the trip is the drive and where you stop along the way. There are parts of this that we will figure this out as we go as we journey together.
That means I need your help.
I am asking for your participation. I need to hear your thoughts. I need dialog rather than monologue. Discipleship is not a voice shouting in the wind. It is koinonia, which is often thought of as “fellowship” but is really more like “partnership.” Will you partner with me in this conversation so we can learn and grow from each other and learn how to BOTH be discilpes of Jesus AND disciple others along the way?
This is vital to the future of our churches. Let me just state my intention clearly. My goal is to start a discipleship movement. A movement isn’t one guy hacking away at a keyboard. No. This involves me discipling people local to me and you discipling people local to you. This will heal our churches. More debates won’t heal them. More study on the same old topics won’t heal them. Learning to follow Jesus together will.
This is going to take a while. This is what makes it valuable. I am not going to give you a 13 week study guide to fit into your quarterly class curriculum at church so I can sell you something and monetize your adult ed program. This will take more than a class and more than a quarterly curriculum. It will take more than a sermon series. We are going to be at this for a while. So we might as well introduce ourselves in the comments.
There is no way to expedite an expedition because you don’t want to. You want to be together. You enjoy the conversation. You enjoy the learning process of bouncing ideas off each other and trying new things with each other…troubleshooting and discovering…accomplishing and even resting in sync with other people who are trying to accomplish the same things.
It took Jesus three years to ready his disciples for his absence and I suspect this journey will take that long or longer. So buckle in. Take the lid off your resistance to comment and let us hear from you as we go on this Discipleship Expedition together.
The next post will give some specifics but for now I want to ask you to prayerfully consider your participation in this. I will share with you one of my goals – to change our church culture from “church culture” to “discipleship culture” in one generation. That means I need church leaders on board and I need church-goers on board. I need anyone who has a desire to learn to be a better disciple and/or wants to learn to better disciple others on this expedition. When you see the value in this invite members of your church to subscribe to the email list to get the posts and explore this together. You can subscribe at the top of the right sidebar.
So here we go…let me hear from you in the comments. Tell us why you are here. Tell us your experience (or lack of it) with discipleship in the past. Tell us your dreams and goals. Let’s do this, together.
Matt, looking forward to this “expedition”. I see a list of names, on this page, some of whom I know. I like to know my travel companions. An “Orient Express” trip is not desirable!
Some 35 years ago, I jumped headfirst into a “discipleship movement”. I learned some things then. It drove me to a foundational appreciation of grace. Since then I have found jewels wherever He hides them. Perhaps this will pan out?! I do find strength from Wineskins.
Thanks for letting me tag along.
Thank you Jerry! I hope this doesn’t turn into a cyber game of Clue! 🙂
Great things ahead and I appreciate you taking the time to jump in. Thank you and thank you!
To be honest, not sure, I have experienced so much frustration with “church” over last few years. What I read in scripture and what I was seeing did not seem to match. I have been trying to reconcile what I have been taught to what I am reading and being drawn towards. I am in a better place to learn with a much more open mind, reading to learn rather than reading to prove what I already believe.
A bit of self-promotion: have you had a chance to read my Church Inside Out. That’s one of the focuses (foci?) of the book, the idea that making disciples is the goal of evangelism, not just “conversions.”
Sorry to say I haven’t read it Tim. I am glad that you have put focus on this. Hopefully some people reading this will go and check it out. Your thoughts are valuable.
Discipleship means different things to different people. Some call discipleship “the second teaching.” For them, it involves going into greater detail on biblical theology. I also have a publication of the International Churches of Christ, mostly written by Kip McKean, called The Disciple’s Handbook. The ICC are keen on discipleship. About 10 years ago, I read Transforming Discipleship by Greg Ogden, a book that emphasizes three-man accountability groups. I am interested to hear where you lie on the spectrum of discipleship and what you think is important.
Great thoughts John. I will make all of that clear in the very near future. Hang in there and keep sharing your ideas.
I’m so excited about this and I’m thinking it may be God’s way of answering a much prayed about longing in my heart. I’m a 3rd generation Christian with roots in the c of C and I’ve been being more and more disillusioned by the focus being on “rules” and “traditions” rather than on the person of Jesus. Although others have often characterized me as “mature” in faith, I know that I can and must go so much deeper with the Lord. Count me in!
I am praying for God to affirm His will on the direction of all of this and your comment really hit home. There is such a need for this and we have to do this together! Thank you for commenting. Thank you for jumping in. Bring someone else along for the ride! Thanks!
Discipleship is, in its nature, a practice that begins with the most mature Christians and flows downward. That being said, elders in our churches should be without exception practicing discipleship. Further, they should be expecting it of the men they disciple or shepherd. I would suspect that right there at that point, COC’s are anemic. When do you suspect the last time was that an elder asked a man he shepherds, “Who are you discipling right now?” or “What are you doing at home with your children?” if he has any. Expectations expressed by asking direct questions. Not rhetorical questions from the pulpit. I suspect if you asked the elders at most every COC when the last time they asked a direct question like that of someone was, the answer would be “never” for most all of them. So, it begs the question are the elders really discipling any of the men. I believe the measure is when the men are discipling someone else, correct?
I am looking forward to the conversation. Discipleship is something that has been neglected in my experience of church. We talk a lot about what it means to be a good church member, and while that may be a part of being a disciple, we often miss what it means to be discipled, an intentional disciple, who also disciples others. Thanks for embarking on this journey, Matt.
I hear exactly what you are saying and I am thankful that you took the time to engage this post. We are going to help each other on this – we are not alone!
Looking forward to this journey!! Most Rabbis had disciples ask to follow them, not Jesus he called His disciples, ones He thought could be like Him. He calls us to be His disciples because He wants us to be like Him. That is how I see Discipleship, striving to be like Jesus. Thanks for starting this adventure!
Thank you for sharing! I look forward to hearing your thoughts as we walk along the road!