If you are anything like me, then you had or maybe even still have a skewed view of what biblical discipleship is. If I were to be quite honest, for the longest time in my life I would hear the term “discipleship”, and immediately think about what my Sunday school teacher did every Sunday morning for about 35 minutes. Discipleship was nothing more than one person preparing a Bible study, standing in front of a small group of people, and teaching a lesson. Listen, Bible studies are great, and they are certainly a part of discipleship. However, when I read Scripture and see the examples of Jesus, the early church, and people like Paul, I notice that discipleship is simply living life together.
It wasn’t until college that my view of discipleship began to diminish and the reality of discipleship was made clear. I remember when I was first invited into someone’s life so that we might learn to live in Christ together. This was an amazing life changing experience. In the early church, as found in Acts, discipleship wasn’t about coming together for a few minutes each week, pulling out the scrolls, and listening to a guy talk about it. Discipleship was life together. We find throughout Acts that the church would live daily in community with one another. They would meet together in someone’s home, eat together, pray together, worship together, preach together, suffer together, serve together, and so much more. They followed the example that Jesus gave them with his disciples.
I can surely say that there is no greater joy in the world than to invest in the lives of others, enjoy Jesus together, invite them into your home, eat together, pray together, cry together, hurt together, share together, and grow together. Knowing this, it begs the question, who are you living life with and discipling? I love Paul in 1 Corinthians 11:1, “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ”. I have to admit, for the longest time that seemed like the most arrogant statement a person could make. But what Paul is saying should be true of all of us. Essentially, Paul is making the statement that he is so in love with Jesus, that if you follow and imitate him, you will be infected with Jesus. Would you be able to say that to someone? Could you tell someone, if you will come and live life together with me, we will learn what following Jesus is all about? That is discipleship!
High School Pastor of Valley View Baptist Church in Tuscaloosa