It's Not Complicated


"Discipleship" is a buzz word that every pastor and church leader is familiar with. Seems like it has been given a ton of focus in the past few years in books, conferences, podcasts and sermons.

Every leader is trying to figure it out. Many people shopping for a new church are asking, "What does this church offer for discipleship?" And every pastor is leaning in to figure out what it is, how to measure it, and what they are responsible for.

I wonder if sometimes we over-complicate the issue. Do you remember the old AT&T ad campaign where a bunch of little kids sit in a circle and answer questions? They say something crazy or off-the wall, and the narrator follows up, "It's not complicated." I think we need a little dose of child-like thinking regarding discipleship.

Sometimes we get so mired in the nuances of our argument that it paralyzes us from getting anything done. We sit around arguing the when, where, how and what--and we fail to inspire people to get on the path and start moving.

I'll admit that sometimes I'm pretty simple, but this is how I look at it:

  • disciple has his or her feet pointed toward Jesus and is moving.

  • disciple-maker is intentionally taking someone else along for the journey.

  • mature disciple doesn't require anyone else to continue taking steps with and toward Jesus.

I don't think it's any more complicated than that. Very simple. But loaded. This means:

  • People who are not yet convinced (pre-Christians) can be disciples (yes, discipleship includes conversion). 

  • Speed of growth doesn't matter. 

  • How far you are along the path doesn't matter.

  • Spiritual maturity isn't measured by knowledge or time traveled.

  • Any disciple can be a disciple-maker.

  • One goal of the church should be to make people less reliant on the church for their growth.

  • If you are still relying on the church to feed you spiritually, that is okay. But it probably means you are not a mature disciple.

Is it any more complicated than that?

Tim Stevens1 Comment