BY: Pastor Tim Ahlman
Discipleship. It is somewhat of a trendy buzzword in the Christian church today. The wider Christian church in America seems to ebb and flow between a heavy focus on “evangelism” and “discipleship.” It’s an interesting pendulum swing to observe. Today is the day of discipleship in the American church. My bookshelf is thick with discipleship books.
Yet, what does discipleship really mean? We talk about it a lot, but do we actually do it. My simple definition of discipleship is “leading another to follow Jesus…who leads others to do the same.”
Can I be brutally honest? I did not learn how to make disciples at the seminary. I said it. It is off my chest. I love my seminary. Truly, I do. I learned a lot of really incredible things at my beloved seminary. I learned to value the original languages. I learned that historical context matters when reading the Bible. I learned how to marry the engaged, counsel the distressed, sit with the sick and bury the dead in the hope of the resurrection. I learned the value of the Gospel – the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. I learned a lot. Yet, I did not take a class on “making disciples who make disciples.” I did not take a class on multiplying leaders who multiply churches to reach the lost. It was certainly spoken about by some, possibly assumed by others, but I do not remember it being “core” in any of my classes. It’s startling, I know.
It’s startling because discipleship multiplication was at the core of Jesus’ ministry. His mission would have failed apart from discipling the 12 to multiply His message to the masses. Keep in mind, the 12 were a mess. Peter denied Jesus. Thomas doubted Jesus. Philip questioned Jesus. Yet, once the Holy Spirit descended upon them multiplying disciples and churches was the core of their mission. Lost people needed to be found with the Gospel of Jesus. Found people had to continue to pursue the lost.
Jesus is calling you to be a disciple multiplier! Want more details and practical help? Read this free ebook: “Becoming a Disciple Maker.” https://exponential.org/resource-ebooks/disciplemaking/
Also, take this disciple making assessment. Our leadership staff has taken it and found it quite useful. http://church-multiplication.com/disciplemaker/