Earlier tonight (Monday night) at Begarowiczes' home (see yesterday's post) the Lord impressed upon me the need for discipleship. What I mean by "discipleship" here is specific training and teaching about the Christian life, about how believers are to live, having repented of their sin, having been baptized, having been filled with the Holy Spirit of God.
In the churches I've been part of we sort of assume that newer believers will learn the Christian life just by being together with older and more mature believers. We've been a part of churches where we assume that believers will start young and will learn the faith, and the Christian life, from their parents and Sunday school teachers. We haven't had "discipleship training" programs. It's time to change that.
As a pastor, I confess that I've done a poor job over the years of training up disciples... other than my own kids... and my own kids have had to learn a lot from others that they didn't learn from me. I confess, also, that at this point I'm not exactly sure how to proceed. What I don't want to do is to put in place some sort of rigid program that is not led by the Holy Spirit. There's always the danger of being legalistic, of pushing people to follow simply because of some sort of external authority instead of being led by the Holy Spirit and being "transformed by the renewing of [the] mind," that is, from the inside out.
Still, if we are going to be reaching out to people who are not yet sold out believers in Jesus, we need to have some idea about how we're going to help them mature. I invite you to pray for me and for others as we learn to do this. Thank you.