Real Discipleship

By Dr. Stephen R. Phinney

This proposal is in high-light form of a detailed description and function to answer this question. True and honorable discipleship may be analogous to clearing away the collapsing elements that don’t seem to produce workers of the gospel contained within our Christian learning institutions. Discipling is the process of constructing, by God’s grace and power, a new organizational structure on the very sites of our churches learning centers (colleges/bible schools) in design, new in appearance, new in strength, new in usefulness, new in vision and certainly new in proof of multiplicity.

What is Discipleship?

1. Disciple (mathetes) means “a learner” – one who willingly accepts instruction.

2. Discipler (didaskalos) is an “instructor,” or “teacher,” who produces followers of a discipline of a particular teacher.

3. Discipline (paldeuo) to influence conscious will and action through methods of correction to promote conformity to Divine Truth.

Discipleship = the process in which an instructor, teacher or mentor uses to influence a willing learner to follow a particular leader in beliefs and deed.

Christ-centered Discipleship = A Servant Leader (disciple of Christ) who is compelled to voluntarily instruct others how to become a follower of Christ Jesus in Truth and deed. When fronted with lies (truth out of context), the discipler is not timid about reproving, correcting or re-instructing by use of Divine Truth – the Bible.

True Servant Leadership

Servant leadership is the first and foremost requirement of a qualified discipler. A discipler of Christ is responsible for the position of a bondservant (the highest title in the universe). Possessing the mind of Christ will absolutely deliver any true believer from every frustrating thought and deed alike. One who is walking with the Lord and demands his way of others is fooled, or is trying to fool others, into thinking they are “servants” of Christ. In reality, they most likely are self-serving. The flesh (self-life) will not be able to imitate the true servant’s heart. It is too selfish!

Diakonos = Servant, the word is translated “servant, minister or deacon.” The most common meaning is to perform voluntary service to help others.

Doulos = Slave, the one who performs the work of a slave, who is dependent upon and who performs his service under the complete control of his superior.

Kathegetes = Leader, master, a guide or teacher.

Before an effective discipleship program can be developed, each of the following components needs to be caught, and taught, to the leadership team:

• Our nature from creation is to serve

• Our bent to serve sin

• Key elements of Christ serving through us

• Serving leadership before fellow servants

• Releasing the mind of Christ

• Being directed by God through the Holy Spirit

• Embracing an honest appraisal

• Being willing to reap what you’ve sown

• Walking in one’s own identity in Christ

• Walking after the Spirit

• Walking with those we disciple in obedience

Summary Statement of Servant Leadership:

Components of Discipleship

Increasingly, we find discipling to be perhaps the most important aspect of the normal Christian life! It is reinforcing, establishing, and building that which ensures permanent changes in the life of all true born-again believers. If discipleship is like world’s form of discipleship (psychological counseling), it would only focus on “problem-solving,” which has no transformational multiplying factors. Throughout scripture the responsibility is put on those who “know how to live” in Christ to reproduce themselves in the lives of others. Their focus is on the transformational element of Christ changing the follower through the power of the Holy Spirit in the disciple they are ministering to. A true and honorable discipler of the Word knows that it is not they who do the work (no matter how hard they try) but the life of Christ pouring Himself out through the discipler to the follower.

Disciplers are comforters while Christ, in them, is the counselor. The word comfort, para-kaleo, means to

come alongside – not only to encourage, but also to exhort and instruct. The Holy Spirit who is the para-kaleo, the Divine Comforter, does this for the disciple, and frequently does this through the discipler. God desires, then, to use the disciple to strengthen, free, and secure his or her identity in Christ as one who ministers to others with effectiveness. We believe this should be the ultimate goal of Christian discipleship. Accordingly, the discipleship process advances the disciple in the study of Scripture, in learning to worship, in consistent fellowship with believers within the local church, in prayer and personal witnessing, and most importantly, in spiritual obedience to Christ. To this end the four primary Components of Discipleship:

In Conclusion

As we speak about Discipleship & Student Life, we must stay focused on Biblical Discipleship. This inevitably must mean training those who are being ministered to, in order to reproduce one’s life and ministry over and over in the lives of others.