Rediscovering True Biblical Discipleship

Rediscovering True Biblical Discipleship

 

‘Change’ is a word on the lips of many right now. And at this time of great shaking, even more people are wondering exactly what kind of change we can expect to see.

-ROBERT STEARNS

 


 

As I continue to travel internationally for ministry engagements, I’m noticing that discipleship seems to be gaining emphasis within the Body of Christ. I feel a growing concern, however, that much of what is taking place in the Church – even well-intentioned efforts at discipleship – are not taking us in the direction we need to go.

After having instant coffee, instant photos, and instant knowledge, I guess it seems natural to think you can have instant disciples as well. Discipleship, however, requires discipline, intentionality, and time…not exactly values topping the charts these days.

In the midst of our “instant” society, what are we (the Church) doing for our children? Are we offering them a worthy alternative to the hollow enticements of this world; or are we lowering our standards, cheapening our message, and trying to compete for their souls with the same tactics as those luring them away?

I would like to submit to you three core areas I feel we need to focus on in our quest to disciple the next generation.

DISCIPLING THE NEXT GENERATION IN

The Word

Our Judaic heritage teaches us the supreme importance of God’s word. In this culture, the learner sits at the feet of the rabbi and memorizes the written word. As the child progresses, public reading of Scripture becomes part of the learning process; then later, discussing, reasoning, and working out its application.

In our own culture, there is an urgent need for the Word of God to be given its proper place in the life of every young person, every disciple who desires to walk in the ways of God. Memorization and the public reading of Scripture should be prioritized by every pastor and youth pastor so that we will have the solid foundation on which to build lives of truth and moral exactitude.

DISCIPLING THE NEXT GENERATION IN

Prayer

The farther the Church spirals away from the discipline of sustained, corporate intercession, the farther it grows from the heart of God. Prayer that is grounded in the Word of God should be the very bedrock of our Spiritual lives, as it was for David and the prophets of old.

Other cultures understand the purpose, power, and unifying force of prayer. The value placed on prayer surpasses the value of all else in, for example, the world of Islam. And here, prayer is not reserved for a certain few. It is, rather, the common denominator of their religious life.

Friends, if we are to see God move through us, we must move ourselves to the place of prayer. We must cause those we disciple to internalize the importance of devotional and intercessory prayer and live this out as not just a practice, but also as a lifestyle.

DISCIPLING THE NEXT GENERATION IN

Character

It has been said that character is who you are when no one’s looking. In our society, do we value talent, or the proper stewardship of that talent? Anointing, or the ability to administer the anointing in holiness and faithfulness?

We must ask ourselves if we are cultivating in our protégés the kind of diligent hearts and minds that will pursue a life of godliness, or if we are prizing the end result above the process.

A seed must be planted and nurtured before a harvest is seen. Are we planting that seed by challenging young people to persevere to true spiritual maturity? Or are we putting our energy and resources into artificially manufacturing what appears to be a ripe, gorgeous, appealing apple, but is in fact inedible?

The world is hungry. The spiritually-orphaned youth of this generation are starved for something real, something authentic, something that will nourish their souls; and fast-food discipleship is not the answer.

I want to issue a challenge to you today to enter into intentional discipleship with someone in a real way. Even when Jesus’ disciples began to forsake Him, claiming His teachings were too hard to bear, He did not compromise the integrity of His message. If we are to fulfill our commission to raise up disciples after Him, we must be willing to do the same.

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