Monday, October 10, 2022

LEADERSHIP: Thoughts on a Discipleship Conference

I went to a conference last week and the topic was DISCIPLESHIP. It was a great and uplifting conference, not because every speaker was excellent, but because it really got me thinking about making disciples. 

Here’s what I heard.

Discipleship at this particular church is neither a program nor evangelism, but about growing relationships. They then shared their list of steps that are what they will do for discipleship which sounds a lot like a program and evangelism.

  1. Choose someone in your life you think is ready to become a disciple.
  2. Pray for/about that person.
  3. Learn about Jesus through the Gospels.
  4. Invite that person to your community group. Talk to them about the gospel.
  5. Walk with that person and talk to them about life.

Here’s what I think.

We’re told to make disciples, baptize them, and teach them (Matthew 28).

  • Evangelism or discipleship is for everyone. It doesn’t have to look like the specific steps above or anywhere else. I like to tell people to LIVE YOUR FAITH OUT LOUD. That just means that we shouldn’t shy away from opportunities to let people know we’re Christ-followers. Simple phrases like:
    • I’ll pray for you. (Do it.)
    • In church yesterday…
    • I was reading the Bible this morning and it talked about this.
    • When I’m having a hard time in life I keep this Bible verse in mind.
    • Have you ever thought about Jesus? He has changed my life.
  • Pray. Pray that you recognize those God brings to you and that the Spirit give you wisdom in sharing your faith in any way that is comfortable for you. It doesn’t always have to be in words.
  • Listen. Listening is an underdeveloped skill in the world today. Listen and respond in love.
  • Know the Bible. Go to Bible class and learn the whole Bible. Be able to answer two questions: What do you believe? Why do you believe it? You can’t talk about something you don’t know and chances are pretty good that people will have questions. A major concern regarding lack of Bible literacy is the problem of false teaching. It’s great to develop relationships and talk about faith and life with people until we don’t know we’re sharing false information because we haven’t studied Scripture.
  • People are not called to disciple the same way. Everyone’s life is different. The Spirit brings us to people and we are to be prepared to share the reason for our hope. Mothers and fathers will disciple their kids differently and as those kids grow their discipling will change. Family members disciple each other. Whether it’s in word or deed, we all disciple friends, colleagues, roommates, and even strangers. Anyone can be nice, so keep in mind that at some point, however, speak your faith.
  • The role of the congregation may not be what you think. Ministry is multi-faceted and people have different spiritual gifts. Some have the gift of talking about faith with strangers in a coffee shop, but discipleship is also teaching Sunday School, encouraging other members, praying for others, etc.

All believers are servants of God. When the Spirit grows our faith a desire to learn more about the Lord and share what He has done for us with those around us will grow. The more we learn about God’s word, the more we won’t be able to help sharing it. Our life will become discipleship.