DISCIPLESHIP: WHEN IS ENOUGH ENOUGH?

Joe Stengele »  Found at: http://theresurgence.com/

Discipleship: When is enough enough?

How can leaders tell if they are making mature disciples? Paul gives us three places to look: the heart, the head, and the hands of disciples.

If you are not making disciples, don’t call yourself a Christian leader.

As a youth pastor, I was regularly calling my leadership team to the task of making disciples, with little success. It wasn’t a massive group of students, but far more than I could disciple on my own. It finally hit me that I needed to demonstrate to my leaders what I was calling them to do. I had to disciple my leaders if I wanted them to disciple our students. Over the next few months I set aside time to do just that, but when was enough discipleship enough?

WHY WE MAKE DISCIPLES

The purpose of Christian leadership is to make disciples who make disciples. In Ephesians 4, Paul explains that Jesus gives leaders to the church to equip all Christians for ministry:

To equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. (Eph. 4:12–14)

In equipping others for ministry, leaders build up individual Christians and the church as a whole. How can leaders tell if they are making mature disciples? Paul gives us three places to look: the heart, the head, and the hands of disciples.

1. HEART OF UNITY

Mature disciples have unity of faith in their hearts. They are dependent upon each other for the fullness of gifts needed within a church. German Theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer writes in Life Together that, “Jesus Christ alone is our unity. He is our peace. Through Him alone do we have access to one another, joy in one another, and fellowship with one another.”

Jesus wants a unified church. He prays for unity before he ascends to heaven (John 17) and gives gifts for the purpose of unity. If we act as a family of God using our gifts, it enables unity to grow in our church.

2. HEAD OF KNOWLEDGE

Mature disciples have knowledge of Jesus in their heads. If you believe people need to know about Jesus, you teach them the Bible, since all of the Scriptures point to Jesus (John 5:39–40). There are various modes of relaying information: one-on-one in mentoring, one-on-several in classes, and one-on-many in preaching.

If you are not making disciples, don’t call yourself a Christian leader.

All of the methods can and should be leveraged to disciple people to understand Jesus and the Scriptures for the benefit of the church. It’s not about knowing more, but about knowing Jesus more—including through our minds (Rom. 12:2).

3. HANDS OF CHRIST

Mature disciples demonstrate Christlikeness in the actions of their hands. It’s the only way the church can extend Jesus’ mission and compassion to the world. Additionally, it’s through our love that people know that we follow Jesus (John 13:35). As we disciple others in the skills of their hands we are able to gauge what their heads know and their hearts feel. This is why mature discipleship must engage the hands. It’s not enough for people to know information and love others if they don’t tangibly demonstrate that in their actions.

JESUS AS THE STANDARD

Mature disciples in head, heart, and hand are to reflect the one mature man Jesus Christ, whom they are following. The heart of Jesus was unified with his Father and was led by his Father’s mission (John 6:38). In head, Jesus taught with authority as one who knew the Scriptures and spoke the word of his Father (John 8:28). By his hands, Jesus served those around him extending the love of the Father to his followers and strangers (John 15:29).

When is enough discipleship enough? With Jesus as the standard of the mature man, we need the empowering of the Holy Spirit to renew our minds, change our hearts, and affect our hands. Our discipleship efforts don’t stop, but continue as we are made more like Jesus.

So Christian leader, who are you discipling? And who do you need to thank for discipling you?

SNOW DAY! Church on 3/3 will be one service at 10:30am!!

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