When you read that word, what do you think of? One on one meetings at Starbucks? Small groups at church? Accountability groups? Something else?
Discipleship is a good word, but as all good words tend to go, it has morphed into a polysemic word: it means different things to different people.
At THECHURCH.DIGITAL, we whole-heartedly believe in discipleship, but we choose to call it something else -- disciple making.
Because that is what we think the Bible means by discipleship. Disciple-making is accountability -- and more. Disciple-making is one-on-one meetings -- and more. Disciple-making is small groups -- and more.
It is all of those things that we think discipleship is, but it’s more.
Jesus said in Matthew 28:18-20, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.”
There is much in this verse, but the essential command that everything else in the verse is modified by is: Go make disciples.
Making disciples is certainly teaching others how to follow Christ, but it is also leading others to Christ, being active in both evangelism and mission.
Disciple making is less a pathway than a reciprocating process. The idea is that a disciple leads another person to Christ, effectively making them a disciple, and then teaches them to observe all that Jesus has commanded.
Yes, Jesus taught us not to have an affair, not to lie, not to be stingy, and such; but he also taught us to “Go out to the highways and hedges and compel people” to believe (Luke 14:23); he taught us to make disciples of all nations, not just our neighbors.
Of course, this is more uncomfortable than just sitting across someone at a local coffee shop, and certainly more uncomfortable than posting about Jesus and church on social media, but it is biblical, and as all good things tend to be at the outset, it is uncomfortable.
At THECHURCH.DIGITAL, we are passionate about helping churches and believers do ministry online, but at the core of that desire it disciple making. We believe the “highways and hedges” are not just the physical locations near us, but the digital world before us, too.
As we enter into a new decade, let’s pray that it is one marked by disciple-making throughout both the physical and digital world.