Thursday, April 12, 2007

How To Shorten the Discipleship Process

Every now and then, I will dig into my stats to look at what people are reading on my blog. The most fascinating things I see are the google searches that lead people here. One this weekend caught my attention. Someone had landed on this page after googling "How to shorten the discipleship process."

Not sure how they got here with that google search. I guess "discipleship process" and perhaps the fact that I am, indeed, short?

I was so intrigued by it that I decided I had to post about it. No, not intrigued-- shocked.

Here's the short answer, since this person apparently is looking for short answers: There is NO WAY to shorten the discipleship process. If you want to shorten it, then it's time to give up and do something else.

Discipleship is a whole life journey, not an 8-week class. It's about developing the fruit of the Spirit and spiritual gifts and looking more like Christ, not about checking off a set of boxes. It's a process of becoming, not a destination. There is no way to short-circuit discipleship. It's about turning every moment of every day into an encounter with God.

Read what Paul's final encouragement to Timothy in 2 Timothy 4:
"Fulfill the the ministry God has given to you. As for me, my life has already been poured out as a drink offering to God. The time of my death is near. I have fought a good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful."
These are not the words of a man who has just finished a set of sprints. These are the words of a man who is on the last leg of a super marathon. Listen to some of his words.

He has been "poured out as a drink offering to God." Are we allowing God to pour us out? Have our lives spilled out all over those that God has entrusted to us?

He "fought a good fight." If you want to shorten a fight, there are three ways you can do it- die, surrender, or win. Unless Jesus returns, the final victory is not something we can control, and I know I don't want to surrender. So I have to keep fighting until the death.

He "remained faithful." Discipleship is not about us and our schedules. It's about remaining faithful to God and the people he has put in our paths.

If someone discovers a Biblical way to shorten the discipleship process, then I am all for it. Until then, I'm going to have to find some way to follow Paul's example.


At 2:42 PM, Blogger Paul said...

Good thoughts, I'm gonna link to this on my site.

At 7:03 PM, Blogger ncreager said...

It is my opinion that new Christians can read God's word and other useful books to help in the process of discipleship. Discipleship is about becoming trained in being a Christian. Spending time in a mentoring relationship is also a profitable way to extend the process of becoming an active Christian.

At 9:12 AM, Blogger Heather Z said...

Thanks, Paul.

ncreager- Absolutely! Really good thoughts. I'm very good friends with a couple people who are starting (or restarting) their lives in Christ, and I have given them a ton of books to read. And Bible reading assignments. :) "Disciple" comes from the Greek word that means "learner." That tells me that discipleship is a life-long learning process.

At 4:55 PM, Blogger Phil Steiger said...

You are absolutely right. I think part of the discipleship process, "being conformed" instead of conforming myself, is giving up the control of time frames and formulaic progress. Let God conform me in his way and in his time. My job is to put myself in his way.


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