My thinking about conversational discipleship was launched because I was asked to attend a church in west Kentucky and share my observations with the pastor about Sunday School and worship. The church had 8 in Sunday School and 9 in worship, including me. Of the 9 in worship, only 3 appeared to be under age 65 (including myself). They were friendly and interested.
The pastor preached from a passage in Luke 16. One verse struck me and caused me to ask myself some questions. Speaking to the Pharisees, Jesus said in Luke 16:15 (CSB):
And [Jesus] told them, “You are the ones who justify yourselves in the sight of others, but God knows your hearts. For what is highly admired by people is revolting in God’s sight….”
The second sentence of what Jesus said is what hit me. What responses would you get if you asked your disciples, group, or class what they admire? Write down the responses. Then what responses would you get if you asked them which on the list is revolting in God’s sight? Place a checkmark by each one that is revolting.
God knows our hearts. He knows our intentions. What does God admire? Ask them to give evidence (scripture) for responses. Then lead your disciples, group, or class to consider whether our list of what is admired should be the same as God’s and why? Then ask why our list is different from His?
What I just shared is conversational discipleship.
This could happen with a father and son, a mother and daughter, a mentor and disciple, a teacher and class, etc. Notice I began with scripture. It may be a word, a verse, a passage, or a story. Then I began to ask questions from life experience and about scripture. Opinion is irrelevant.
Conversation about the Word will enlighten understanding and allow for stretching and even changing that understanding. Without discussion, change of thinking may not occur. Jesus was stretching His listeners (disciples, Pharisees, others, and even us today) with these words.
The practice of conversational discipleship is relevant and needed today as you walk through life filled with teachable moment after teachable moment. Study God’s Word. Listen to Him but also to those around you. Where is God speaking that those around you (including your disciples) need to hear? Make disciples!