There is a lot of talk in the Church about the importance of discipleship. There is some talk about making disciples who make disciples. This is all good. But, I worry about the content of what is ‘taught’ when discipleship or discipling takes place. For maturing as a Christian it is more than learning how to use the Bible, the importance of prayer, and the sharing of one’s faith. More emphasis should be on biblical character and developing a worldview based on the Bible. This will get us into studying the Word and applying it in our daily lives. Then, we will start to see a transformation of our communities and society at large as Christians with a foundation based on the Bible interact with the ‘world’. God wants us to bless the nations. But, even before that, we must not forget the importance of worship and community. Worship, for all activity must be led by God and in His strength through the Holy Spirit. It is from our worship, we are sent out into the world. And then there is community, for we need to take action with and be supported by our fellow Christians. For community, I mean small groups of 8-12 people, in which the discipling and discipleship takes place.
Because we have not had these emphasises, there have been many issues that have not been tackled by Christians. For example, when the Abortion Act was promoted, Christians did not fully understand the implications and took little action. In Rwanda, we had the massacres. Then there were the Crusades, done under faulty understandings because the leaders did not look at the Bible’s teachings – the issue as far as they were concerned, was all about power and not humility.
At the same time as we develop our character and worldview based on the Bible, we have to be careful not to forget to share the Good News about the Kingdom of God, encouraging others to want to become Christians who reproduce. Notice I mention reproduce. When someone becomes a Christian, we need to encourage them to seek others who can also be reproductive in bringing others into the Kingdom.
The Gospel is a whole-life message. In Matthew 28, Jesus commands us to make disciples who put into practice His teachings (especially the Sermon on the Mount) and including the commandments to love God and others.
Worldview, based on the Scriptures, includes how we approach both moral and social issues; it is about empowering people to be what God meant them to be. It is also about being an advocate for the poor and vulnerable; dealing with the cause of injustice. This means getting our hands ‘dirty’. For us to be effective in this ministry, we need to be living our lives based on character traits taught by God in His Word, and to be led by the Holy Spirit, in whom we are to base our strength. In developing our worldview, we need to grasp what the Word really says, not based on our cultural understanding. Through all this we should be shining for Jesus, drawing people to Himself as a natural thing. In all this, we should see people as God sees them, not as ‘salvation fodder’ – it is the Holy Spirit who convicts the person of their sin, not us – we are called to point people to God.
One key thing is to look at our lifestyle, how we are using our time and resources. Do we spend too much time and money on ourselves (including do we take too many holidays), and not enough in the service of God and others? Yet, we also need to get a balance between our work, leisure, ministry and rest. We often want to get things done yesterday, but we must learn to trust God as to when He wants things done!
Trust God in all things.