Delegating discipleship?

Discipleship = The process of helping others to come along with you into God's story

I’ve been thinking about discipleship a lot lately.  Not only because its my primary focus at Christ Church Santa Fe, but because I’ve been confronted with a disturbing trend. What I have been confronted with is not merely the lack of training in or even exposure to discipleship, but a lack of desire, interest, or even willingness to engage in it. [Not talking about my church specifically, but things I’m seeing or conversations I’m engaged in on a broader level]

I’m not talking about “volunteerism” or “small groups”, but when someone is practically begging someone else to show them how to know God, walk with Him, grow in their relationship with God, there seems to be a tendency to delegate the task to others.

Where did we get this from?

The task given to the church – and that means all believers in Christ – is the task of discipleship (cf. Matthew 28:18-20).  Not schooling in a particular methodology, or training in a specific program or curriculum, but sharing our lives in such a way that others are growing closer into a relationship with God, or living out their relationship with God in maturing ways.

Its a call to enter into God’s story, live in light of it, and help others do the same. Is this really such a terrifying thing to engage in?

This quote from Stanley Hauerwas was helpful to me in thinking about this:

“We are called to be disciples and even to count ourselves among the righteous.  Our call is not a general admonition to be good, but a concrete and definite call to take up the way of life made possible by God’s redemptive action for us in the cross.  To be redeemed, as I suggested above, is nothing less than to learn to place ourselves in God’s history, to be part of God’s people.”

Stanley Hauerwas, The Peaceable Kingdom, 33

So you guys tell me, “How do we reverse the trend of delegating the responsibility of discipleship onto others, and take it up ourselves?”

Or in words that express this other picture, “How can we all take a part in helping others get up, and move into and live out their relationship with God?”

In helping others, everyone can play a part...even puppies.

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6 thoughts on “Delegating discipleship?

  1. I’ve recently struck up something of a discipling relationship with one of the young twenty-somethings at our church. It’s tempting to want to jump straight to a book or curriculum, but it seems to work out much better when you just talk and pray. Give up the notion that the pastor has to have it all together. Share where you’ve grown, how it’s happened, and where the difficulties remain. There’s something much more real about a pastor (or anyone else) who has lived or is living the struggle themselves than someone who simply has all the answers but never speaks from personal experience.

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  2. I mentioned this to you on FB before, but my husband has oft complained about this void in the church. When I met him, he was a relatively “new” christian (2 years maybe?). He has specifically sought out leaders and other men in the church for discipleship and accountability, and for the most part has been unsuccessful. There are areas w/ which he struggles and wants and needs the guidance and prayer of other men, but no one seems to want to answer the call. I know it’s not just him; others must feel the same way. Many Christians never even seek discipleship (probably b/c the need for it is never addressed), but I’m really dismayed and annoyed that someone who asks for it cannot find it. Our pastor’s wife is excellent in this area w/ women, but what about the men?? Goodness, men are the group that really need this encouragement now. My husband has now been called to preach, and his specific calling he feels is to men. I know he will be on the other side, discipling others, and I know he will do it to the best of his ability, but Christians need to step up. Older men are supposed to be teaching the younger men how to be godly men, husbands and fathers. – ie. discipleship. Older women are supposed to teach the younger women how to be godly women, wives and mothers. Sadly, much of the church seems to think it is a job best left to the leadership…NOT what God intended. We are ALL leaders. We are ALL teachers. We are ALL called to disciple.

    Stepping off my soapbox now 🙂

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  3. Donna, I do remember you mentioning that. It is a tragedy, I think, that for the most part individual Christians have lost the sense of “helping each other out” in these things (discipleship), and have left that too the few. I’m sorry you’re husband as experienced so acutely, but I am glad to hear he’s pursuing this with others the best he can.

    And thanks for the comment!

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  4. Pingback: Delegating discipleship? | Intersection « Feeds « Theology of Ministry

  5. Pingback: Delegating discipleship? | Intersection | churchoutreachministry.net

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