The Discipleship Course
Jesus told us to make disciples, not converts. He told us to make followers, not lead people to pray a magic prayer.
This seven-week course will provide a good foundation for new believer and a great reminder for all believers.
New Testament discipleship is all about heart. It has to do with motive. It is about creating people of passion and desire. It is not about law and should and ought to. It is not about compliance. It is not about wanting to do one thing and doing another. Sometimes, we must live that way because that is all we have. That is responsibility. But that is not the heart and soul of Christian discipleship. That is the stuff of law. The stuff of the Old Covenant. The stuff of the Pharisees.
Disciplemaking teachers know they are not just presenting rules and fourteen steps on how people can follow the rules. They are fundamentally after a heart change. They are out to create people who, as Augustine said it, “love God and do what ever they want.” Disciplemaking teachers are out to create people who pray whenever they want to, and want to quite regularly. People who read the Bible when they feel like it, and feel like it often. People who do just as much service as they want to, and want to serve quite a bit. Not out of law or obligation, but out of heart.
The sixty-four thousand dollar question is, how do you create people like this? How do you create people who want to pray, read their Bibles, serve, give, and love? If we can’t use the method of law—barking at people to do it whether they feel like it or not—what methods do we have for creating people of discipline?
Before we discuss the how, let’s get clear about the what. Discipline is often confused with conformity to some external picture. That is not discipline. That is phariseeism. Discipline is doing what needs to be done.
One semester while I was in college I slept every afternoon for four hours. Is that discipline or slothfulness? Before you answer, consider that I stayed up every night studying until three or four in the morning. Essentially I slept four hours in the afternoon and four hours at night. I was in no shape in the afternoon to study after attending class all morning, so I slept. Having a good nap, I was able to stay up late into the night every night and still feel rested and alert the next day. By my estimation I rested more and studied more than most.
What is your verdict? Is that discipline? Well, sleeping four hours in the afternoon doesn’t fit the stereotypical definition of discipline. But it did get the job done, and that is discipline. Discipline is doing what needs to be done.
Josh Hunt and Larry Mays, Disciple-Making Teachers, ed. Bob Buller (Josh Hunt, 2010).