Discipleship....the missing link?

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Onlybygrace, May 11, 2009.

  1. Onlybygrace

    Onlybygrace
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    I am constantly amazed how many people who have been walking the Christian road for a number of years still don't have a good grasp of basic biblical truth or are blissfully unaware of the true meaning and expression of the Christian life. As I have pondered this I have come to the conclusion that true discipleship and mentorship of a new Christian to the point where that invidual is mature and trained enough to perpetuate the same action in the life of another individual seems to be a rare thing today. Am I wrong?

    Have we sustituted true discipleship for Louie Giglio and Beth Moore DVD's and fellowship meetings? A large number of Christians don't know how to pray, can't share their testimonies or cannot qute scriture effectively. They've never witnessed to anymone don't know what they believe and are not trained to perform any ministry in the church. Is all the apathy and inactivity the result of a neglect to disciple effectively? What is your discipleship philosophy and practice in your church?
     
  2. Shortandy

    Shortandy
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    I agree with you.

    I am just out of 6 years of Student Ministry and let me share some thoughts with you. In my former Association we had camps and rallys and revivals and saw large numbers of youth accept Christ. But I began to do a little investigating and found that after a year well over 65% of those kids where not in fellowship at a church. I was Boys Camp Director for 3 years for the same Association. After my 2nd year I did somemore investigating and looked into the decisions for the past 5 years of camp. I found kids who made repeat decisions every year of camp. Some rededicated then got saved the next.

    I share all of that to say there is an obvious discipleship issue. At least this was true of my former association. However, after patoring for a little over a year now in another association I am finding some of the same things.
     
  3. Onlybygrace

    Onlybygrace
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    But if you ask a pastor of a church, "Do you believe in discipleship and is your church active in discipleship?" He would most assuredly answer YES.
    But if you scratched a little below the surface you would probably find that discipleship as we are describing it and the bible defines it is not really practiced. Could it be that our definition of discipleship has changed as well as our methods of discipleship? Do we take it for grant that a person is discipled as they attend Sunday services and mid week bible studies and are exposed to Christian media and material?
     
  4. Shortandy

    Shortandy
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    You are asking the right questions my friend.

    I believe the failure in discipleship has happened in the home and in turn the church is feeling the burn.

    Ask as many dads as you would life about family bible study and devotions and look at the puzzuled faces. This has become a foreign concept to most. Yet in scripture fathers are taught that they are to teach their children and their wives the word...Deut 6, Eph. 5 & 6.

    If we are waiting on one or two sermons a week, a prayer service and one hour of Sunday School then I pitty the younger generations.
     
  5. gb93433

    gb93433
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    You are right. That is because those leading have not been discipled.
     
  6. PeterM

    PeterM
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    This has long been my burden...

    I have heard more than one seminary professor and many pastors say that they believe in discipleship and that the churches they are in are doing the work. Many believe in "discipleship" as a concept, but I think there are many who define what that is and what it looks like.

    I think the question should be: What is discipleship and how do churches do it?
     
  7. gb93433

    gb93433
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    Discipleship is most likely to happen when we invest ourselves in the lives of others. That takes time and goes way beyond a one time decision in the beginning but helping the person to obtain leadership skills, making many decisions and maturing along the way.
     
  8. gb93433

    gb93433
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    Luke 9:23-25, "And He was saying to them all, "If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me. "For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it. "For what is a man profited if he gains the whole world, and loses or forfeits himself?"

    Luke 14:27-33 "Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. "For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it? "Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who observe it begin to ridicule him, saying, `This man began to build and was not able to finish.' "Or what king, when he sets out to meet another king in battle, will not first sit down and consider whether he is strong enough with ten thousand [men] to encounter the one coming against him with twenty thousand? "Or else, while the other is still far away, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. "So then, none of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions."
     
  9. Onlybygrace

    Onlybygrace
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    Some of your comments are really insightful and helpful, PeterM SAID:

    Many believe in "discipleship" as a concept, but I think there are many who define what that is and what it looks like.

    I like that statement because it touches on several problems with regard to discipleship and most other issues in the church ie.

    1. BELIEVE - I think that most Christian have a problem living a practical Christian life because their faith is not a practical Christian faith, it is not trust associated with action and risk but rather intellectual ascent. Intellectual ascent does not result in action but analysis. Doctrine has become something we subscibe to as a belief system that distinguishes us from other groups and denominations rather than something we live out on a daily basis.

    2. CONCEPT - I think we live in an age of a conceptual, intellectual Christianity rather than a practical one. Christianity has become a philosophy rather tha a lifestyle. Too many sermons are aimed at the head rather than the heart with a lot of interpretation and no application. We take it for granted that people will automatically know how to apply God's word to their lives in a practical sense and yet that's something I feel you need to be taught to do.

    3. DEFINE - We need clear definitions of biblical truth and not euphemistic terminology that's aimed at making challenging truths palatable. Also sometimes we all use the same terminology but we don't nearly mean the same thing. We need to scratch below the surface of saying the right things and begin to question are we doing the right things?
     
  10. CoJoJax

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    Yeah .. a lot of what you're saying is true ..

    I've been a Christian for not too long ..

    I try to read and learn as much as I can .. but I definitely struggle with having any type of prayer life. It really bothers me sometimes.
     
  11. gb93433

    gb93433
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    Pray for your neighbors and that God will open doors to share your faith. You will never lack for a desire to pray when you are surrounded by non-Christians and desire to reach them.
     
  12. Plain Old Bill

    Plain Old Bill
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    How many churches have Discipleship ministries? One well grounded strong Christian takes one new Christian by the hand and teaches them the basics (Handbook to Christian Maturity by Bill Bright might help).

    Deacons, elders, and Sunday school teachers should be good recruiting ground. The pastor could train these people.
    The new Christian would be given a Bible, a handbook, and a mentor.:thumbs:
     
  13. gb93433

    gb93433
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    Rememebr how hard it sisto put new wine in old wineskins?

    I successfully did that in one church but in the next church I pastored the deacons did not like it because they were unwilling and like their power. It was a mess. So an elderly lady suggested that I work a regular job and do the same thing. It was much different. I do not have to deal with antagonists in the church.
     
  14. Plain Old Bill

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    I can sympathize with you there. To many churches give deacons way to much power and they lose sight of the fact that they are supposed to be servants . To many churches think of the pastor as one who is merely passing through. This is why I think a potential pastor should have a long list of questions for the pulpit committe and the deacon board. The answers he gets will tell him if he is really God called to a church or just wants a job.
     

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