It’s no secret I was raised on a Pentecostal church pew, have attended and served in Assemblies of God churches most of my life, and am heavily influenced by Pentecostal/Charismatic teachings. In the past few years, however, I’ve been on a journey to ensure that what I believe and practice are truly Biblical in how we interpret them today. I don’t think in concept those in my circles disagree, however, in practice it’s not happening.
Discipleship is one of these practices. Over the years I’ve seen a trend where discipleship has been a buzzword that few know anything really about. The reason few know what it’s about is because few are really doing it. Discipleship is not Sunday School. Sunday School/small groups/Christian Education (whatever you call it) has an important place, and can be a small part of one’s discipleship, but is not the whole package. We need to be taught the deeper things of the Word, and we need to build community with other believers, but this doesn’t disciple us.
Going back to the Word, in Matthew 28:18-20:
Jesus, undeterred, went right ahead and gave his charge: “God authorized and commanded me to commission you: Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life, marking them by baptism in the threefold name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you. I’ll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age.”
Jesus didn’t say to get them into our church pews or start a Bible study, He said to personally go out and train everyone you meet. Teach them how to follow and live for Him!
Discipleship is dirty work. When Jesus had 12 guys follow him all over Israel, He didn’t do it to have body guards or to have people carry his stuff for Him (although they gladly would have done these things). He did this so that His work on earth didn’t end when He ascended into Heaven.
According to His command, you and I today should have disciples. We should have people who we are personally teaching by example and demonstration how to walk with God. We should be teaching them by example how to live by faith, how to have hope. We should be teaching them by example how to grow the fruit of the Spirit.