Discipleship Equation: Relationship + Skills >>> Character + Obedience

How many of you loved math in school? I apologize, in advance, to those who didn’t. The above is somewhat of an discipleship equation. Let me define elements and explain.

Discipleship Equation Elements

Here are the four elements of the equation:

  • A fresh ongoing relationship with God in His Word,
  • Skills in understanding and applying God’s Word to life today,
  • Character is who we are when no one is looking, and
  • Obedience is simply carrying out the commands of our Lord in scripture.

The plus symbol is obvious; it means “added to.” But what does >>> mean? I am using >>> to mean “produces, leads to, or results in.” So the title could be interpreted: relationship plus skills results in character plus obedience.

What discipleship activities would help to feed this equation? What church programs and ministries would provide opportunities for these four elements (separately or together) to feed into the experiences of disciples?

Programs and Ministries

As examples, measure the following programs and ministries related to the four elements:

  • one-on-one discipling
  • D-groups (group of 3-5 disciples)
  • Sunday School
  • small groups
  • discipleship course (in parenting, money management, sharing your faith, how to study your Bible, prayer, etc.)
  • worship (music, prayer, and sermon)
  • other.

Do any of the list above contribute toward three or more elements? How can we build a discipleship pipeline so that disciples make progress and stay connected. Does one of the programs or ministries need to be strengthened or retasked?

Do we need to emphasize a pathway that includes two or more of these programs or ministries? Is the church confusing or distracting disciples from focusing on the main thing? These are hard but important questions. Be honest in your evaluation. Begin a conversation. Make disciples!

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