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Once you’ve had a real encounter with this very personal Jesus, you are faced with a choice! Now that I know him, am I going to follow in his steps? This is what Jesus’ final command was to his followers: “Make disciples of me in all nations!”
Although I spent many discussions about the term ‘discipleship’, often daily, in my four years of graduate seminary, I graduated, thinking I was prepared to make disciples of Jesus. We each had a ‘Christian service’ requirement to be involved in some form of ministry with real people. And, I was given one of the best labs to actually practice making disciples. I had the privilege of working with college students on local campuses. So many eager students, sincerely wanting to follow Jesus. This was one of the most thrilling experiences of my life! I definitely learned more from the students I was given and the staff team with whom we worked, than I ever gave out.
We were certainly in the midst of the ‘discipleship’ dynamic and our work was unusually effective! However, we seminarians were caught up in a wrong belief. We believed that making disciples of Jesus was all about teaching others a body of truth-a body of information. Jesus’ idea of discipleship had more to do with the process of apprenticeship, not passing along a body of knowledge or information.
Discipleship! The longer I live, the more I realize that the term ‘discipleship’ has become too slippery. No matter how people, churches, and ministries talk about discipleship or package a new discipleship program, ‘discipleship’ has become so slippery that it has become THE MISSING LINK in all faith-based ministries. Very few of us really ‘got it’…even fewer ever practice it!