We commonly use the term discipleship in the church, but what does that even mean? In this video, Vice President for Church Ministries at LifeWay, Michael Kelley, breaks down what discipleship means in its simplest state.
The entire video is above, and the complete transcript is below.
Discipleship is one of those words that is becoming and has become sort of buzz word in our church culture. And one of the dangers that happens when a word rises to that level of prominence is that a lot of us start talking about it and as we talk about it more and more and more the core definition of what discipleship is sometimes ebbs and flows. It shifts.
When somebody is speaking about discipleship often it’s very helpful just to take it back to ground zero and say, “Now, I know what I think you mean when you say the word discipleship, but can you tell me what you mean?”
Because people mean different things when they say discipleship, I do think that there is some level of misunderstanding about what discipleship is in the local church. And one of the misunderstandings that I think we have is that we tend to overcomplicate what discipleship is.
We tend wrap all these kinds of metrics and systems and programs and all of those kinds of things around this relatively simple process of growing in Christ’s likeness. Now a lot of those things are very, very helpful. We need those programs and processes, but it’s important for us to remember, especially at the local church level, that discipleship is not like a factory.
In a factory you have an assembly line and there’s parts that are placed onto a body of a car or a toy or a whatever. And it just sort of goes down the line and as long as all those processes function properly, you know exactly what you’re gonna get on the other end.
It’s important for us to remember in discipleship that we’re not making widgets here. We’re not constructing automobiles. We’re not putting together toys. These are real people. We’re real human beings with real souls and with real struggles, with real hang-ups, with real personalities, with real quirkiness. And because we’re real people it’s not quite as smooth and easy as an assembly line would be.
It’s important for us to remember that because it means that even though we can have all these processes that wrap around discipleship, at the very, very base level, at the very base level, we’re still dealing one-on-one, or one-on-a few, helping one another follow Jesus. And that’s really what discipleship is. It’s the process by which we help someone else follow Jesus.