The Need for Real Discipleship

By Stephen Phinney

Each of us is lead to the truth and desires to disciple others at various points in our Christian walk. All come to the same gate – discovering the “how to” of leading others to Christ and growing that convert into a mature believer. This certainly cannot happen until a true believer understands the various forms and means to their spiritual growth, while learning to embrace God’s calling upon their lives for obedience and victory.

What does a discipler in Christ look like? He/she is one who knows what it means to stand whole and complete in Christ, and who gives evidence that he/she is moving toward a life in which personal priorities are in scriptural order. He/she is a person deeply impressed with the impossibility of doing the work God apart from the enabling power of the Spirit of God – self-lifers. The discipler is one who has experienced, through practice, the enabling power of the Holy Spirit to bring change, wholeness, and spiritual vision to broken men and women – students of the Word. Skills have been learned and confidence gained. The concept of ministering out of the overflow of one’s life will have been put into practical operation through accountability to a discipler-trainer. The practice of “giving one’s life away” through serving others will have actually begun. (Jesus came not to have servants but to BE a servant, and to give His life …)

Beyond this, the discipler sees the discipleship process not as an end in itself, but as a means to an end. That end is LIFE producing LIFE that will in turn produce LIFE. Thus, multiplication, the basis of the Great Commission, becomes our goal within the church and its learning institutions that serve her.

This goal has resulted in the THREE FOLD vision of Discipleship:

1. Provide Biblical Discipleship

2. Train & equip Biblical Disciplers

3. Establish a long-term & on-going Discipleship program for learning institutions

It seems clear that God is bringing a new emphasis to the learning institutions that call themselves “Christian” or “Christ-centered.” Within the past hundred years, Christian institutions have blossomed and produced fruit – a type of fruit that is Holy Spirit inspired, through discipleship programs around the world.

This does not mean that the work of the cross is done. With the world’s population exploding and the “Lukewarm” Church emerging, we have plenty of opportunities to equip true believers with the absolutes of God’s Word. There are many responsible Christians begging to have someone show them how to disciple and equip others to do the work of ministry.

Believe it or not, Biblical Christ-centered Discipleship is just now being recognized as a certifiable approach to qualifying people helpers within the “Christian” college community. Numerous ministries are being used by God to assist “Christian colleges“ in coming back to their roots and accepting the Word of God as the absolute Truth “so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:17)

Next blog: What Is Discipleship Anyway?