I read an online article about discipleship that caused a personal reaction. It was not that I disagreed with the article’s points, it was that the article was about one thing and the title was about another. The article was The problem with dicipleship today. The article correctly points out that we have problems with clarity, vocabulary, and the “unknowable.” While these are leadership issues, I honestly do not believe they are THE problem with disciple-making.
The Single, Largest Problem with Disciple-Making
I challenge you to take out pen and paper and write down what you believe is THE problem with disciple-making today. Feel free to write down more than one, but then narrow down the list to the one of greatest significance. What did you write down. Please share what you wrote down in the Leave a reply box below the post.
I can identify many sub-problems–problems that contribute to THE main one. But without hesitation, the biggest problem with disciple-making today is the lack of a growing relationship with God. Some may argue that sin is the biggest problem, but where there is a growing relationship with God, sin must decrease. Some may argue that lack of evangelism is the biggest problem, but where there is a growing relationship with God, the disciple will naturally desire to tell others about Jesus.
For those who began their relationship with Jesus years ago, there can be a tendency to depend on past knowledge and relationship. There can be assumption with very little freshness. Even reading the Bible daily and praying at meals can become meaningless habits. Good habits are not enough.
When was the last time you met God in Bible study? When was the last time an encounter with Him led you to adjust your thinking and life? I would hope the answer would be today or yesterday. I have talked to too many pastors, disciple-makers, and disciples who could not remember a time.
Addressing the Problem
The solution is not necessarily trying harder or being smarter. Ask couples experiencing distance or conflict. Sometimes we have to start acting loving in small ways before we start feeling loving. In a similar way, we plan for and expect God to meet us in Bible study in order to sense His presence in those moments and following. I invite you to read this post, Sunday School: Take the Love Dare.
A pastor once said, “When you open God’s Word, God speaks.” How true. Are you listening? Listen. Pray. Apply. Commit. Obey. What have you found helpful for keeping fresh your relationship with the Lord? Check your habits. Make every day count. Keep it fresh. Make disciples!