the weblog of Alan Knox


Posted by on Jan 7, 2010 in discipleship | 5 comments

When you ask people about making disciples, they often mention big things like Bible study groups, church meetings, and other times and places that are specifically set aside for “intentional discipleship.”

But, if we considered all interactions with people opportunities for discipleship and every relationship a discipling relationship, I think we would better begin to understand what it means to make disciples.

Like a small pebble dropped into an ocean, the ripples may not be immediately noticeable, but they are there. Every time we interact with someone, we either help them grow toward Christ… or we don’t.

I’m beginning to think that discipleship by the ripple effect (like many small stones thrown into a pond) may be more effective that the usual form of discipleship during specified times and at specified places (like throwing one big rock into a pond).

What do you think?


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  1. 1-7-2010

    I think we need both.

  2. 1-8-2010

    I think it is both also but here is the rub. Discipleship is almost always thought as a bible study, a message on Sunday…… If I look at Jesus lifestyle, discipleship is going out to do….. the ministry, and Jesus taking time to discourse….. the sermon on the mount. When I say Jesus gave a discourse I do not believe he conducted a church service. He simply, on the spot, opened his mouth to teach. Other times he mostly told a story, a parable as he walked the countryside…. he then went on his way.

    Discipleship, I think, is dependant on the disciple. Does she/he have the desire to be discipled. As one who disciples I will have had to spend time with the Lord, praying and getting into God’s word.

    Currently my wife and I are wondering how to disciple a friend and his wife who are thinking of coming to our organiic church. Do I set up a bible study time or something else. Experience tells me that bible studies have a very short life span. You get to them and the people haven’t read what they were suppose or there is little life in them and before you know it people are making excuses why they can’t show up. They die very quickly.

    I think the best way to be a disiple is to be a self learner. Asking questions, reading, digging into God’s word, doing, discussing
    …..and so on. This is how a disciple grows quickly. Otherwise it is a hard road to disciple.

    Just a few thoughts

  3. 1-8-2010

    Iris and Frank,

    Actually, if we live such that every interaction is an opportunity for discipleship, then that would automatically include “both” types of discipleship.

    And, I agree 100% that we should disciple by example – getting out and doing things together.


  4. 1-8-2010

    In my experience there is no comparison. Life shared is the most powerful discipleship tool. Without it I wonder how I ever helped anyone follow Jesus.

  5. 1-9-2010


    If we look at the example of Christ and His apostles, we’d have to go with the many little rocks theory (“houses of peace .. sending out the disciples two by two .. and meeting house to house): all believers understanding that they are authorized and commissioned to do the work of the ministry.

    The big rock theory would seem to represent today’s church as it exists in its more acculturated form of expression: in which a few people do the work of the ministry, and the rest of the people hear about the work of the ministry.

    I’m for many rocks.