Thoughts: Discipleship & Church Planting

How do you define discipleship?
Do you disciple anyone in a particular trade, hobby, or other life skill? How do you lead others?

What is a disciple?
A disciple is simply someone who believes in Jesus and seeks to follow him in his or her daily life.
Billy Graham

What is discipleship?
Dietrich Bonhoeffer famously said, “Christianity without discipleship is always Christianity without Christ.”

Realistically, how do we follow Jesus in today’s culture? Lots of people have many different opinions of Jesus and who he is and what he taught. Here are two things I believe we need.

  1. God’s Word and the written examples from Jesus’ life.
    • Let’s go to the source! These are first hand accounts of what Jesus did.
  2. Someone to lead us and help navigate 21st century questions.
    • 1 Corinthians 4:15-16 (NIV)
      [Paul talking to the Corinthians]
      Even if you had ten thousand guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel. Therefore I urge you to imitate me.

Throughout the Bible we see God using unqualified people to fulfill his purpose. In Taiwan I teach this to many young people of which many are not anywhere close to considering having biological children. This leads them to thinking… how could I ever be a parent? Yet my question to them is… “Why not you? Who are you fathering?

You see imitating people takes time. Have you ever tried to dance, or even drive a car by reading a manual? It’s truly difficult. I believe this to be part of God’s divine design to accomplish His mission through us, people.

Have you ever heard the phrase “it takes a village to raise a child”? I believe this to be true. We work better together. Paul stresses that the Corinthians already have so many teachers (guardians, see the Greek), but they lack fathers. As older Christians lead younger Christians we see the Body of Christ take form; With Jesus Christ at the head!

In many ways discipleship and church planting go together. A church is a group of believers who follow Jesus together while leading others to do the same.

Christians could be called shepherds from behind, sheep from the front. There’s always at least one person who is following your lead.
Mike Breen

In this way community takes form. With everyone leading as they follow a space is born in which people learn to belong and discover their identity, gifts, and purpose. There’s a reason we often call church a big family.

Someone who cares for you (mother?)
Someone who teaches you (father?) +
Family (The Church)