I begin with a question that all of us in leadership must answer: Why does the church have such a difficult time engaging her people in life-transforming discipleship?
There are many reasons why we are experiencing this phenomenon. Often, we find that leaders have not themselves been discipled. Therefore, they have no real context for what it looks like to choose to step into the long game with others. We are too often looking for the quick fix, the silver bullet that will require the least amount of sacrifice on the part of the discipler and the disciple. Our world rolls at breakneck speed, and few of us are willing to, or feel like we have time to, take time to spend waiting on the Lord in His presence, whether we are alone or with others.
Jesus left us with his model of discipleship. He spent 24/7 with a group of folks for approximately 3 ½ years. That is 30,660 hours! Obviously, we cannot reach His level of discipleship in one hour a week for six weeks, or six months, or even six years. So we have to develop a realistic plan to be able to disciple others in a way that will bring life transformation. Our goal is to become more like Jesus, so we can help others become more like Jesus.
The book of 1 John gives us a great picture of what it means to become more like Christ and live the transformed life. In a nutshell, we are to love Jesus, love others, and be obedient to God’s commands…to his Word. 1 John 5:1-4 tells us:
Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well. This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands. This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.
Our lives need to exude the love of God, and when we love God’s people, we become world-changers. The fruit of our lives demonstrates our conversion and our love for Christ. Our love is connected to a real awareness of who God is. Too many in our midst live with an incomplete understanding of God’s character, and we, as leaders who disciple, have a responsibility to teach them who God is, and who they are as followers of Christ. This subject could fill volumes, but it is a really simple concept. Learning to be aware of God’s presence in our lives, learning to see and feel his love, and learning how to share those experiences with others to bring about transformation in their lives should be the priority in our lives.
So I ask you a few questions:
- Who are you pouring into?
- Who is pouring into you (remember that even leaders need to be discipled)?
- Are you loving God’s children well?
God is calling all of his children to disciple others. We must choose the long game as we follow in the footsteps of Jesus.