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I want to examine what most often is missing in making disciples of Jesus and diminishes the process of discipleship. All of these descriptors are simple, yet vital to the dynamic process of discipleship. To make disciples the way Jesus intended, it’s critical to make sure that several disciple-making characteristics are obvious.
In the first letter to the Corinthians, Paul gives us a few new insights that describe what discipleship includes. (I Corinthians 3): Brothers and sisters, I could not address you as people who live by the Spirit but as people who are still worldly-mere infants in Christ. I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready. You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere humans?
Discipleship is the missing link and spiritual growth is most often missing within the missing link. If disciples or followers of Jesus are to be made, it’s important that discipleship occurs in the context of spiritual growth and maturity. Paul is appalled that there are brothers and sisters who are followers of Jesus and not growing up spiritually. Our faith-communities and organizations are filled with immature followers, yet, after some time, they ought to be growing up into maturity. If the process of discipleship is to be effective and authentic, there must be evidence of spiritual growth in the lives of the followers. Being a disciple of Jesus requires it!