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Six Myths of Discipleship – Part 1

In one of the reading today’s it mentions the need for us as Christians to be making disciples – here are some thoughts on this topic from an article I read this week written by Col Marshall on the website.

Myth 1: Discipleship is a second stage of Christian experience, after conversion. You can be a Christian but not a disciple.

Many people think of discipleship as what happens after conversion. They think that it’s only after someone becomes a Christian that they ‘disciple’ them, by training them in the disciplines of the Christian life. In a similar way, they might think it’s possible to have church members who have been Christian for years, but never ‘discipled’. However, the truth is that all Christians are disciples—disciples of Jesus Christ. As such, we are always on dangerous ground when we imply that there are two classes of Christians.

Myth 2: Discipleship is only for the super Christian.

This is similar to the first myth. It says discipleship is only for the super-committed Christian, and not for the normal, everyday Christian. Again, it implies there are two membership levels in the church: a small group of dedicated followers of Jesus and a vast crowd of ordinary believers. Another version of this myth might imply that it’s the ministers and/or missionaries who are true ‘disciples’.

However, the truth is that we are all called to be disciples, wherever we are. And this myth runs the danger of teaching ‘cheap grace’, a salvation that has little impact on our daily lives.

Myth 3: Discipleship is a ministry method or program.

Discipleship is often understood as a ministry strategy, like one-to-one mentoring, small group ministry, or the 12-week discipleship program. Many pastors and writers talk about ‘intentional discipleship’ to refer to these kinds of strategies and programs, drawing on the way Jesus discipled a small band, so we are using his method.

However, the truth is that genuine discipleship and disciple-making is the goal of all ministry as we proclaim the gospel of Jesus. If we reduce disciple-making to a particular method, then we wrongly assume that the other parts of our Christian life are not about making disciples.