“Practice these things; be committed to them, so that your progress may be evident to all” (I Tim. 4:15).
Over the years, our understanding of discipleship has changed — and not always in a good direction. Discipleship has shifted — from an ongoing process over the course of one’s life to a class you sign up and hopefully complete. Usually after some time the class that started with twenty dwindles to eight or ten.
I grew up on the tail end of the “training union” of the late 1960s and early 70s. But even in this the shortcomings were felt. Again, it was based upon this premise…you come and sit, I’ll teach. You and I ought to be dissatisfied with mediocrity. God has placed in each of us the desire to minister and develop through others.
Discipleship should not be left to chance. The Lord Jesus was intentional and calculative from the beginning. In fact, as Jesus discipled the twelve men who would change the world, He gradually released them into ministry through a definitive four-step process.
First, Jesus ministered while the disciples watched.
Second, Jesus allowed the disciples to assist Him in ministry.
Third, the disciples ministered with Jesus’ assistance.
Finally, Jesus observed as the disciples ministered to others.
If Jesus had a model and a plan, shouldn’t we have one? If discipleship was then, should it not be for today?