In one of my last posts, I asked the question, “What (Who) are we teaching people to rely on?” That post points out a major shift in my understanding of “making disciples” (discipleship) that has occurred over the last few years. That shift continues today.
What is the shift? The shift is away from information and facts about Jesus, and toward following Jesus and trusting him.
To be honest, most Christians would agree with me. Most would agree that discipling others is helping them follow Jesus and trust him. But, when you stop and think about all the energy, time, and resources that are spent on sharing information and fact, it seems that what we truly believe about discipling is not what we say we believe about it.
But, what would change? What would change in how I interact with people if I want to help them follow and trust Jesus instead of giving them information about Jesus? What would I do differently? What would I say differently? How would I pray differently? How would I give differently? How would I serve differently?
I think these are important questions. And, if we stopped to consider them seriously, we would have to admit that most of the things we do have little affect on helping people trust Jesus and follow him. Perhaps that’s why we have a tremendous amount of education going on, but believers still seem to be extremely immature when it comes to following Jesus and trusting him.
Also, this emphasis on sharing information and facts about Jesus explains why the people in the previous post (“What (Who) are we teaching people to rely on?“) were concerned that believers in certain countries don’t have access to all of those sources of information: conferences, books, commentaries, training seminars, Bible schools, etc.
So, what do I need to help me follow Jesus better? What do I need to help me trust Jesus more? Yes, I have the Holy Spirit, just as he indwells all of Jesus’ followers. But, we also all need help following Jesus and trusting him. And, in fact, the Spirit often works through those he indwells to help others follow and trust Jesus more.
How do we help each follow and trust Jesus? When I look at what typically happens and what is typically done and what is typically said as the church to one another, I don’t think most of it actually helps us follow and trust Jesus. It might help us fill encyclopedias, but it doesn’t help us grow and mature in trusting Jesus and following him.
What about you? What do you think it takes to help someone follow Jesus and trust him? Has your understanding of this changed? If so, how?