That word has become one of those scary church words that often cause people to cringe when they hear it. I believe the reason for this is because there are a few misconceptions about it:
1-It has to always be extremely formal and organized; a very serious and studious meeting.
2-It has to be done by someone who is a Greek scholar or who has vast knowledge of the scriptures.
3-It is the job of a Pastor or Church Leader.
None of those ideas are true, but we have allowed them to creep into our thinking as Christians, and because of it many who are Followers of Christ in the church are not participating in discipleship.
In Matthew 28:19-20 Jesus says to his followers, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (NIV)
We are to make disciples. That phrase “make disciples” refers to both the first step of sharing the gospel (evangelism), and it is also referring to the continual work of helping that someone grow in their knowledge and faith (discipleship). Jesus doesn’t just stop at saying “make disciples”, but he continues on and says to “teach them (those disciples referred to earlier) to obey everything I have commanded you.” That phrase shows that this passage is talking about both evangelism and discipleship; to the first step that leads to faith, and the continual work of growing in faith.
And, this command was given to all of his followers; not just Greek scholars, not just those who have a vast knowledge of scripture, not just Pastors or Church leaders, and not just those who are extremely serious and organized. It is for every Christian to do; we are all to be in the process of discipling others.
I believe that every Follower of Christ CAN and SHOULD be in a discipleship relationship with someone else, from teens on up. We are to be in discipleship relationships with other believers, helping them to grow in their faith as they help us grow in ours. And this can happen in both formal and informal ways.
There are 3 simple keys to follow that will help you begin a discipleship relationship…and I will share those 3 keys in part 2 of this blog.