The Significance of Discipleship
Modern American Christianity appears to be in decline. A recent poll done by Pew Research has shown that there is an increase in people saying they have no religious affiliation and a decrease in people identifying as “Christian.”
I have seen a lot of people raising all sorts of fears and drama about this. But please, if nothing else, heed the most often repeated command in Scripture – “Do Not Fear.”
This research really only reveals one thing to us. Something many of us have known for awhile now. Our churches are not doing a very good job at discipling people.
Discipleship is the ongoing process of looking more like Jesus. This literally takes a lifetime. We never stop growing.
Somehow a practice entered into the evangelical mainstream years ago. This was the practice of “getting people in the door.” That was the primary goal of the church. And there are still plenty of vestiges of that left over in our congregations. Programs, strategies and efforts to recruit new seat warmers and givers.
These things are not completely bad. We certainly need people to come. We want to grow. We want as many people as possible to hear the gospel of Jesus.
But that is not our goal. Our goal must be to continue to process of moving toward Jesus. The day we decide we have done enough should be the day we die. Until then we must continue pressing forward on our journey. Discovering more about our need for Jesus and allowing him to change us. Growing more in faith through our acts of service, giving, and love.
If we are not working harder to love the outcast this year than we were last year, we are stagnating.
If we are getting up and trying to decide if we really want to go to church today, we are probably not growing in our faith.
If we are trying to rationalize our brokenness and explain away our wounds, we are not growing more like Jesus.
At BCC we are committed to raising up another generation more likely to follow Jesus than we are. Tomorrow morning at the 11:00 service several of our students will profess the Christian faith as their own. Many of us have done this at some point in our lives as well. But what they are learning is that this is only a step toward a lifelong commitment of growing more like Jesus every day.
Here is my challenge to the adults in our congregation. Let’s humbly model for them what a sincere and lifelong commitment to Jesus Christ looks like. Join a Bible Study, come to leadership training this summer, engage in a bible study or daily reading plan, invite someone to join you in church or even share your faith story with them yourself.
This is what Discipleship looks like. Let’s look like that.