THE TWO CHALLENGES WITH DISCIPLESHIP
OK let’s be clear. There are way more than two challenges when it comes to discipleship. And yes, sin and its appeal is #1. Yet, in my opinion, there are two further big challenges that come up again and again when it comes to discipleship happening across the board in Christianity. If LifeSwitch is going to be the church that God is calling us to be, we need to actively counter these challenges.
- THE GENERAL APPROACH TO DISCIPLESHIP WORKS FOR SOME BUT NOT FOR ALL
When a church, as most do, takes an unstructured approach to discipleship, some people are still well discipled. Yet many are not. My experience has lead me to believe that people that fall into any of these three categories tend to get discipled well:
- They are strongly self motivated
Go-getters, someone who makes things happen rather than waits for things to happen. People who are proactive by nature.
- They are natural learners
Some people are just natural learners. They love to learn, engage with material and consume copious amounts of it.
- They were/are fortunate to have someone take an interest in them and invest in them
For whatever reason, someone further down the track got alongside them, spoke into them, took them under their wing.
The challenge is that many people wouldn’t fall into any of these categories thus making discipleship a lot more unlikely.
- DISCIPLESHIP IS HUGE!
Think about it. What does discipleship cover? Everything! At its Core, Christianity is incredibly simple. Yet our theology is remarkably deep. Have you seen the famous book Systemic Theology by Wayne Grudem? Furthermore, discipleship is about way more than our theology. God cares about how we live and carry ourselves in every area of life. From how we parent, to manage money, to perform in the workplace. To how we treat our parents, our spouse and our enemies. To how we handle relationships, friendships and even how we play battleships. God cares and our relationship with him shapes literally everything else.
With all this in mind, people are often overwhelmed with the overload and don’t know where to start. So they never do or they dabble here and there but never really get anywhere. It’s a classic case of too much analysis leads to paralysis. Unfortunately, for many Christians when it comes to discipleship, paralysis is an apt description.
CORE 4 ADDRESSES BOTH OF THESE CHALLENGES
Firstly, CORE 4 addresses the challenges associated with the categories of people that discipleship works for because the relationship with a supporter brings a level of accountability and encouragement that those of us who are not so motivated require. It takes discipleship back to what it truly is and away from the western mindset that true learning is classroom learning. Finally it ensures people don’t fall through the cracks or get overlooked because we consistently invite everyone to be part of it. Not simply those lucky enough to catch the right person or persons attention.
CORE 4 addresses the second challenge not by minimising Christianity but rather by helping the participants think and act in terms of ‘next steps’. By firstly asking which of the four areas they should focus on over the next quarter, people are able to identify a specific direction in which to step without being overwhelmed with options. Then by asking them what specific step(s) they can take that will move them forward over the quarter, they can identify something actionable and specific.
LifeSwitch is all about Connecting people to God. Yet for this connection to be genuine and meaningful we want to lead and inspire everyone to be a disciple (follow Jesus step by step). I really do believe CORE 4 will go a long way to ensuring we do just that.