1. What attitudes will slow down the process of discipleship?
- Prejudices (traditional thoughts or bias towards a routine way of thinking – the Pharisees fitted wonderfully into this category, thereby excluding themselves from understanding Jesus’ teaching).
- Preconceived ideas (that lead to responses like “I already know that”, thereby excluding us from the learning or discipleship process).
- Assumption (thinking we knew what was meant or required without enquiring further and therefore failing to come up with what was really required or needed).
- Counter proposals (words like “I have a better idea” or “Wouldn’t it be better if … ?”)
2. What attitude will speed up the process of discipleship?
- Being a good listener & a doer, coming with a view to learn,
- Being accountable, being faithful, being an imitator.
- One who observes and duplicates it.
- Willing to obey.
- One who is willing to open up on their own initiative.
3. What attitudes hinder discipleship?
Being self-opinionated, an egalitarian spirit (always arguing for equality, and therefore having difficulty in submitting), reluctance to receive discipline or correction.
4. What are the extremes that a discipler should avoid?
The discipler should never betray the disciple of what was shared with him in confidence. Never use the earlier confession to his own advantage.
He should not lock the disciple into a permanent servitude but be willing to release him into his own ministry in a few years’ time like Jesus did with his disciples. He must use scriptures to answer the questions raised and direct the disciple to Jesus and the scripture. So that in course of time the disciple becomes well versed with hearing God and interpreting scriptures, because Jesus (the logos) is the only mediator between God and man). In course of time the discipler must decrease and Jesus must increase in the life of the disciple. The disciple is never to be kept permanently dependent on the discipler. The followers are likely to ‘exalt’ the discipler, but he must deflect the praise he receives giving glory to God and praising his own mentors. The discipler must not focus on his rights, privileges and power but must instead focus on his responsibility and servant hood.
5. What are the extremes a disciple should avoid?
The disciple must never betray his discipler of what was shared in confidence. The disciple must focus on his own responsibility and not become ambitious thinking of using discipleship as short cut to position, power, privilege and full
time ministry. He should not become dependent upon his discipler, or consider his discipler as a substitute for Jesus. The disciple must remember that positionally he is at par with his discipler but functionally he may be subordinate to him for a period of time. Also a disciple may feel he has ‘arrived’ based on what he ‘knows’ but what he ‘knows’ may be far from what he has practiced. This a deception many a disciples fall into.
6. How does discipleship get transmitted?
Look at the stages of how Jesus did it.
- Stage 1 – Jesus did it.
- Stage 2 – Jesus did it, the disciples watched (Most miracles).
- Stage 3 – Jesus did it with his disciples (Jesus prayed over the 5 loaves and 2 fishes but the disciples distributed the same, and it multiplied).
- Stage 4 – The disciples did it while Jesus watched (When disciples went 2 by 2).
- Stage 5 – The disciples did it (after Jesus had ascended to heaven)
7. How much does a disciple share with is discipler?
As much as he would like to. It all depends on the comfort level of the relationship between the two of them. But he must make an attempt to live a life of openness and transparency. The more open he is, the more accountable he will be. And every area of his life will be spruced up. Read 1 John 1:7 “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.”
8. Any other precautions in discipleship?
Generally speaking, it is good to disciple a member of your own sex. i.e. Men should disciple men and women should disciple women. Or a couple could disciple a couple. This may be overlooked on rare occasions and for a very short period.
9. How often should a disciple meet his disciple?
That has to do with the level of discipleship, and the time available. Some people are discipling a number of other people, in which case they will need to share their limited time with all the disciples and will not able to meet one particular disciple more frequently. In a church setting, with a brand new believer, it may be good to meet frequently as meeting him every alternate day initially. But after a month or two it could reduce to once a week. Eventually it could be once a month or even once in three months.
10. Can one terminate a discipling relationship?
Of course they could do so for various reasons. If the disciple does not implement what is told or does not work on the homework given or does not respond to the suggestions made, even after 3 or 4 attempts/chances, the disciple is free
to terminate the discipling relationship. That would be wise stewardship of his time. However, he could maintain a relationship, so as to keep the door open for a possible future rekindling of discipleship. Another reason the discipling relationship can be terminated, is when the disciple has become like his master and the time has come to release him. Of course their relationship as friends or co-labourers will never change. If the relationship between the disciple and disciple gets soured up, then they should put the discipleship on hold and instead first work on strengthening the relationship.
11. Are there any recommended resources for understanding discipleship better?
- The lost art of disciple making Leroy Elms,
- The Disciple by Juan Carlos Ortiz,
- Discipleship published by Roots and Shoots
- The making of a disciple – by Keith Philip
- Disciples are made, not born – by Walter
- Jesus: The Disciplemaker by Ada Lum
12. What’s the difference between mentoring and discipling?
This is a common question. In a mentoring relationship the person who is doing the mentoring is a sort of sounding board. They are available every once in a while (not really doing life together) so the person being mentored can occasionally ask questions and the mentor gives suggestions but if the person being mentored doesn’t like it they don’t have to do it. There is no authority given over. In the discipleship model the authority of the one being discipled is voluntarily handed over to the one discipling and “as iron sharpens iron”, there are disagreements, sparks, abrasiveness, and the like. It is not submission until you disagree so we encourage those being disciple to humbly submit to the one who they have handed over their authority to as long as they are following Jesus and their instructions are founded in God’s Word.
13. Are all Christians called to disciple?
Absolutely YES! Christ calls us all to make disciples (Matthew 28:16-20) and we see examples throughout scripture (Philippians 3:17, Philippians 4:9, 2 Timothy 1:13, 3:10-11, 1 Cor 4:16-17, 11:1, 1 Thessalonians 1:5-7)
14. Should discipleship be one-on-one?
Not necessarily so. For accountability and for certain private issues, discipleship should be “one-on-one” basis. But for many other issues it could be one discipler and many disciples being disciple simultaneously (one-into-many). Most of the time, Jesus did that with his team of 12 disciples. Or it could be many discipling inputs into one disciple (many-into-one). However, in this many-into-one there is an advantage and a handicap. The advantage is that the disciple is now receiving input from various individuals and so he is not limited to the limited gifting of one individual. If the discipler is pastoral, and the disciple is prophetic, it seems good that for that subject he be discipled by another prophet. But on the other hand the disciple may pick-and-choose from a buffet menu to suit his comfort zone and may not allow himself to be challenged to a deeper walk with God, choosing the path of least resistance.