What does that say? It’s pronounced “di-shipe-uhl-shmip.” I REALLY wanted to make that the name of this entire blog site, but everyone I pitched it to shot me down. I need more humorous friends. They just don’t get it. (If you’re my friend and you’re reading this, I’m NOT talking about you, just everybody else. You have a great sense of humor. I like you. We hate them.)
I think we have a discipleship problem in America, so I’ve decided to dub what we do “dischpleshmip.” At some points we’re close to true discipleship, and at other points, we’re a million miles away.
As an editor of Sunday school curricula, I’ve had a bear of a time trying to get a unified definition of discipleship to our readers.
What is discipleship?
I ask this question, and receive 100 different responses. Some think it’s what you do with new believers for 6-8 weeks. Some think it’s a 12 week study you can buy from any bookstore. Some think it’s a one-on-one mentoring relationship. Some think it’s what you do when trying to raise a duck-billed platypus. And still others think it involves nothing more than learning to quote the books of the Bible in proper order. (Consider me un-discipled. To this day I still can’t locate the book of Hezekiah. And don’t even think about using the table of contents.)
It’s a maze of uncertainty (the discipleship, AND the platypus). I’ve been working on boiling it all down (the definition, not the platypus). It’s a work in progress, but here’s what I’ve come up with so far:
Discipleship is the lifelong process of following, and maturing in, Christ.
And if I had to apply a tagline, it might look something like this:
Learn. Live. Repeat.
Learn the Bible. Learn the ways of Christ. Learn to hear His voice. Learn to follow His leading. Learn to find His will. Then, once you know, LIVE what you know. Knowledge is useless until it’s put into practice. Jesus commands us in the Great Commission: “Teaching them to obey…” (NIV). Obedience follows learning. And then, once you complete the process, start all over again. Learn more. Live more. Then, repeat it again. Just like the shampoo bottle that keeps me in the shower way longer than I need to be—Learn. Live. Repeat. It’s an endless cycle of discipleship, and it will help you draw closer to, and become more like, Jesus.
It might also help me raise the platypus I’ve always wanted, but that’s still tbd.
And in honor of the shampoo bottle–remember this?
So how would you define discipleship? How would you improve my definition?For more thoughts on discipleship, try these posts: When Faith Gets Messy How Important Are Relationships? a tale of two funerals I Must Confess Engage Your Faith