With all we have to produce, do and act on, when it comes to our Christian faith it is easy to become so busy being ‘Christian’ that we fail to “Therefore go and make disciples”. A fast-paced lifestyle combined with living in an individualistic society, makes it easy to lose sight of the essence of true discipleship.
However, when we look to Jesus as the ultimate example, we discover that discipleship is not merely about attending religious gatherings or acquiring knowledge. Jesus teaches us that discipleship is a transformative journey that involves building deep relationships, intentional investment, and the replication of faith. Here we will explore how Jesus' teachings emphasise the importance of a relational, intentional, and replicable approach to discipleship.
1. Relational Discipleship
At the heart of Jesus' ministry was a relational approach to discipleship. Jesus invested time and energy in developing meaningful relationships with His disciples. He walked alongside them, shared life with them, and engaged in deep conversations. Jesus didn't view discipleship as a transactional exchange of information but as a personal connection that transformed lives.
As followers of Jesus, we are called to emulate His relational discipleship. This involves investing in authentic relationships with people who are of little faith, some faith and deep faith. This must be founded on trust, vulnerability, and accountability in order to thrive. When we prioritise relationships, we create spaces for growth, encouragement, and discipleship. Through genuine connections, we can learn from one another, challenge each other, and support each other in our spiritual journeys.
2. Intentional Discipleship
Jesus' approach to discipleship was intentional and purposeful. He didn't leave the spiritual growth of His disciples to chance but deliberately guided and taught them. Jesus provided His disciples with both practical and spiritual instruction, modelling a life of love, service, and obedience to God.
Similarly, intentional discipleship requires us to be proactive in our spiritual development and the development of others. We must intentionally seek opportunities to learn and grow in our faith, through reading Scripture, prayer, attending church, and engaging in spiritual disciplines. Additionally, intentional discipleship involves actively investing in the lives of others, sharing our knowledge, and faith experience. By being intentional, we create an environment where discipleship can flourish, and lives can be transformed.
3. Replicable Discipleship
Jesus' ultimate aim was not just to gather a few followers but to make disciples who would go and make more disciples. He imparted His teachings, empowered His disciples, and commissioned them to carry forward His message to all nations. Jesus' vision for discipleship was not limited to a few individuals but was designed to multiply exponentially.
As disciples of Jesus, we are called to replicate His discipleship model. We are not just beneficiaries of His teachings but carriers of the Great Commission. Replicable discipleship involves equipping and empowering others to become disciples who make disciples. It requires a mindset shift from personal growth to kingdom growth. When we pass on what we have learned, invest in others, and disciple them, we participate in the multiplication of God's kingdom.
Jesus' teachings on discipleship remind us that this is not a passive endeavour but an active and transformative journey. Discipleship has to be relational, intentional, and replicable. It requires us to invest in authentic relationships, intentionally pursue spiritual growth, and replicate the process by making disciples who make disciples.
By embracing these principles, we can foster a culture where a community of believers walk together, support one another, and multiply the impact of the Gospel. Let us follow Jesus' example, becoming intentional disciples who prioritise relationships, invest in others, and replicate the transformative power of discipleship.