November 10, 2011

The Importance of Discipleship

Discipling: Becoming Imitators of Christ
What is a disciple and mentoring?
「弟子訓練を行う」、「メンタリングする」とは何でしょう? なぜ私たちは弟子訓練(霊的成長)を受けなければならないのでしょう?
Who should be discipled?
Should I disciple someone, or should I seek someone to disciple me?
How do I find someone to disciple?
How do I find someone to disciple me?
How do I disciple others?

 

What is a disciple?

A person who learns from a teacher. A student. A person who imitates a teacher.

When Samuel was a young boy, his mother brought him to the temple and left him with the priest, Eli to be his mentor. Samuel was a disciple of Eli. (1 Samuel 1) In the New Testament, Timothy (1 Tim. 1) and Titus (Titus 1) were among the many disciples of Paul, and all the apostles had disciples of their own. Paul referred to Timothy and Titus as "my true son in the faith." So these were more than disciples. Paul was their mentor.

John the Baptist had disciples. (Luke 7:18) These were men who sat at the feet of John the Baptist who taught them and preached the coming of Christ.

So what is discipling?

Teaching, training.

What is mentoring?

It is the highest form of discipling.

Mentoring goes beyond teaching and training. Mentoring includes coaching, and is reserved for a select few.

Jesus had hundreds of disciples, but he selected 12 to mentor.

Ephesians 5:1 ... be imitators of God.

So the Scripture commands that we become disciples of Christ and imitate Him.

This charge is to everyone. It is not reserved for pastors or people who attend theological seminaries.

Matthew 28:19-20
Go to the people of all nations and make them my disciples. Baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and teach them to obey everything I have commanded you.

 

Teaching/discipling/mentoring is really important to all Christians. That's the way of Jesus. And Christians are people who do the way of Jesus. It is His example we follow, and we try to be like Him, to imitate Him. (Ephesians 5:1)

Jesus had hundreds of disciples who followed him everywhere, and he was always teaching.

Teaching, teaching, teaching. When you read the gospels, you are reading a record of the teaching experiences of Jesus.

Of his many disciples he taught, he chose 12 men to mentor.

These were men he would invest most of his time, and he left them with huge responsibilities.

Later, one of the great apostles of the Bible, Paul, wrote to his protégé, Timothy, "You have often heard me teach. Now I want you to tell these same things to followers who can be trusted to tell others." (2 Timothy 2:2) Paul was telling Timothy (and us) to pass it on to other men (what he had been taught), just as Jesus had done with His disciples.

So that is our charge as well. We have to do what Jesus showed us, and later what the apostles showed us as they continued the process. This isn't a suggestion. Jesus wasn't about making suggestions. The Bible gives much more weight to what Jesus and the apostles said. You and I make suggestions. Jesus and his apostles spoke the things they expected us to do.

From the Old Testament we can gain much wisdom, learning much about life and about God, but upon the words of Jesus and the apostles, our faith is built. Jesus said, "If you love me, you will keep my commandments." (John 14:21) In this context 'commandments' mean His words, that is, what is now the text of the New Testament. :21The faith of Christians is based upon the teachings of Jesus and the apostles, so we should be doing those things they taught. Faithful Christians are known as people of the "Book" because we love, honor, and respect the Word of God.

The faith of Christians is based upon the teachings of Jesus and the apostles, so we should be doing those things they taught. Faithful Christians are known as people of the "Book" because we love, honor, and respect the Word of God.

All Christians would surely agree that our faith is about making disciples of all believers, but few are faithful to take this seriously enough to do it.

Most don't have enough confidence or know how to do this.

This is largely because they are not getting the Word of God in their hearts. They don't pay attention to the Bible, don't read it, don't take it seriously, don't have proper respect for it, don't study it, and don't use it for instruction in daily living.

"The cause of Christ is best served when you give yourself, by faith, to the task of investing in the lives of others." We must all take the example of Jesus and the apostles.

Some men should be "Pauls" - teaching the "Timothys" in our fellowship. And some men should be "Timothys" - seeking the wisdom and experience of a "Paul" so they can continue the process and become a "Paul" for someone else as God leads them to that person.

When I was a child, I talked like a child; I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. But when I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. (1 Corinthians 13:11 )
Now we are all men, so we must accept the responsibilities of a man among those in our Christian fellowship. The Bible isn't speaking to an institution, an organization, or a religion. It is speaking to the minds and hearts of every individual believer.
It's time for us to start living like Christian men.

By Michael L. Reynolds

Mike

He has a BS in Marketing Research & Statistics from the University of Alabama.

He is the founder of Atlanta Japanese Christian Fellowship (AJCF) He is the founder of AJCF (Atlanta Japanese Christian Fellowship) and helped establish the Atlanta VIP Club and the Cumberland CBMC.

Mike serves on the Board of Directors of JCFN, the Advisory Board of Homestay International/Mission to Japan, the Career & Technical Education Advisory Committee for the Cobb County, Georgia, school system, and is an advisor to the Atlanta VIP Club (Japanese Christian businessmen).

Mike and Helen began their ministry as a homestay family for international students, and they have continued to use the homestay as a ministry tool. Mike divides his time between personal ministry and business responsibilities, using his business as a platform for ministry in the "tentmaker" tradition of serving. He and Helen have seen many of their homestay students and Japanese friends come to Christ and later find Christian partners in marriage. The Reynolds' have been pleased to have had a role in that process as counselors and often also as cupids.

He married Helen in 1967 and they have a daughter, Andrea, in Toccoa, GA, with her husband, David, and children Austin, Josiah, and Ashlyn. Michael and Helen have lived in the Atlanta area since 1980. Mike is president of Carefree Clearwater Ltd, which he founded in 1986.