Jesus said to them, “Is this not the reason you are mistaken, that you do not understand the Scriptures or the power of God?
At this point many of you may be becoming uncomfortable. And probably rightfully so. Or some of you may be asking, “why are you belaboring this point.” The fact of the matter is that there are two extremes in the discipleship camp.
On one extreme, discipleship has become so compartmentalized that only one technique is acceptable and they are in grave danger of becoming like the Pharisees (Mt 15.3, Col 2.16-23). Now there is no room for creativity, the gifts of the body, or even God himself to do His work. The other extreme is so loosey-goosey that it lacks any form of intentionality and those being discipled lack for spiritual nutrition. These are in grave danger of becoming mystics without substance (Eph 4.14, Col 2.8, 1 Tim 4.7-8)
I believe the Scriptures and Jesus’ ministry provide plenty of room for difference and yet provide the intentionality required to see real transformation in people’s lives. Let me give you an example. There are those who rely heavily on illustrations (drawings used to explain biblical principles) and those who do not like to use them at all in their ministries. I would say that this is a personal preference and probably has something to do with their gifting and the reception of the disciples that they are presently ministering to. But to say illustrations are wrong would completely fly in the face Jesus’ ministry. His parables were spoken illustrations in order to communicate spiritual concepts. Illustrations are simply a technique, they are an amoral method. But for one to say that illustrations are the only way to disciple men and women would put limits on God’s work, individual gifting, and different learning styles.
However , we must acknowledge that some techniques work better than others with certain people and settings. To fail to acknowledge this lacks integrity. I’m not saying that we are to do whatever works, but if it falls in the realm of biblical truth or example, then by all means, we ought to use a technique that is effective. But it’s really not about the technique at all. It’s about the effect. Are the techniques and methods we are using actually helping people to transform their lives into the image of Christ? Are they returning to the original image of God that he designed?
The task of discipleship is to help people become like Jesus. There are many techniques we can use in order to accomplish this task but the techniques should never drive the task. The task always drives the techniques. Therefore, we need to use methods that are effective in helping people become like Jesus.
Normally, it’s a combination of many methods that help people grow in their relationship of Christ. The two dangers that I see are one, people zeroing in on a technique and then dogmatically defining that technique as discipleship. Or two, using methods of “discipleship” that do not actually help a person follow Christ and then blindly practicing them without ever asking the question; “is this working?”
Consider this one of “Chuck’s Soap Boxes”
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