I spent some time with a friend this morning over Starbucks coffee, just talking about faith, the Bible, and Jesus. This man is a newer follower of Jesus… in fact I had the priveledge of being at his baptism about six months ago.
He had asked some questions about next steps as a new believer. What do I need to know? How do I study this or that? What do I need to do…
So I began talking about the Bible, how it was assembled, the genres of the books, and some of the historical backstory that Jesus walked into in 30 A.D. Jerusalem. I spent an hour just talking with him, answering questions, pointing to one Biblical story after another. Just relaxed, fun conversation about following Jesus over coffee.
Why do I mention this? Because so many churches think that they have to have a 39 point discipleship program that offers a class (with a binder!) explaining a systematic theology, or 12 points of doctrine, or whatever.
Don’t get me wrong… those aren’t necessarily bad things. Unless, of course, the Christ followers in the church begin to believe that the job of discipleship is not their own personal responsibility. "It’s some pastor’s job, some elder’s job, some teacher’s job… anyone else’s job but mine. That’s why we have THE PROGRAM. (Or that’s why we pay the staff!)"
A church can have all the discipleship programs it wants, but until every Christ follower owns the fact that the job of discipling other followers is OUR job (read MY job too), the programs will ultimately fail. When Christ followers see an opportunity to connect, to build
community, and to help grow one another they should seize it instead of
pushing the responsibility off on someone else.
You don’t have to have advanced degrees, a curriculum, or even a study guide! Grab a cup of coffee and talk about how YOU follow Jesus. What is God doing in YOUR life? How have YOU seen him impact your family, friends, finances… whatever. Of course, if you haven’t seen God move around or through you lately, THAT is the problem that needs to be tackled first. Get something fresh, take a risk… put yourself in a situation that only God can get you out of. Experience God in a way that someone WANTS to hear you talk about.
Then grab some coffee and take the time. It’s worth it!