The terms “disciple”, “discipleship” and “disciple-maker” can be scary and daunting. They convey a sense of seriousness and devotion that should be present in our relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ.
So, what or who is a disciple? A search on the Internet indicates that the definition of discipleship is almost always the same as “Christian” discipleship – that is a follower of Jesus Christ, His beliefs, values and doctrines. Looking back historically, a disciple is essentially a student who disciplines himself or herself in the teachings and practices of another person. For example, if you chose to study a particular field, for example in arts, science, athletics etc., these “disciplines” originated from a philosopher, thinker or early practitioner of that discipline. However, being Christ’s disciples is different from being a student of a field of study or subject, or thinking of Christianity as merely “a way of life”.
This is because a disciple of Christ is someone who believes in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour, desires to learns from Him, and strives to be more like Him. It is a relationship where we know Jesus and not merely know about Him. Discipleship then is the journey and process of spiritual growth which takes place during our time on earth. By God’s grace, He has already provided everything we need for this discipleship journey – the Word (Bible) and the Holy Spirit. In addition, human companionship (community) is a vital component God uses in our discipleship journey (both to enjoy and to challenge). So herein lies my understanding of a “disciple-maker”.
A disciple-maker’s role is two-fold: (1) to make more disciples (evangelism) and (2) to make quality disciples (discipleship). In this reflection, the focus is on the latter and I want to encourage you to remember the role we have as fellow companions in this discipleship journey.
It is alright and understandable to feel inadequate or unqualified to disciple others. After all, shouldn’t this be for those with the appropriate spiritual gifts? I believe that there is a time and place for each member to contribute. In this YCKC spiritual family, we are blessed with diversity – physical age, education, occupation, life experiences and more importantly diversity in our spiritual growth and journey.
Worldly wisdom compels us to understand that discipleship is a one-way, top-down activity. The older, wiser, experienced members have to help the young(er) right? Yes and no.
I am (hopefully) wiser because of the counsel from seniors who have walked before me, but I am also encouraged and blessed by those younger who serve with fresh enthusiasm and vigour. On the one hand I need those who have “exciting” conversion stories to tell; but on the other hand my simple “boring” (read: stable) journey can encourage another.
The list of examples goes on, so let us strive to be spiritually enriched by studying the Bible together, praying for each other, fellowshipping together and the sharing our life experiences (both the ups and downs).
As I close these thoughts, perhaps we can do something simple – take a few moments to greet one another in the name of the Lord. Remember, we are disciples of Christ and we are in this discipleship journey together.
By brother James Chia