The Need for Life-on-Life Discipleship

Doug Fell uses an image from parenting to demonstrate why the church is failing to produce mature disciples. Imagine if once a week parents sat their kids down on a couch and lectured to them for an hour about everything they needed to know and do for the next week. How well would that go? Would that lecture be enough to train children, week-by-week, into mature adults? Of course not. But this is precisely what the church does. We limit discipleship to a lecture – or Bible study – format, and for some reason we think that this ought to be enough to produce mature spiritual leaders. We’re mistaken. Whole-life discipleship requires whole-life modeling. If we want people to know how to live for Jesus in all of life, they will need to see what it looks like to live for Jesus in all of life.

Jesus knew this. This is why he practiced life-on-life discipleship. Rather than focus on big group ministry, he selected 12 and of the 12 he chose three in particular to pour his life into. They went everywhere with him, did everything with him, saw everything with him. This was the great legacy of Jesus’ ministry. He didn’t leave books. He didn’t leave a movement. He left a handful of eye-witnesses that could carry on his mission of making disciples. Now from a modern point of view this looks unspectacular. However, the success of the model is undeniable. 2,000 years later a movement of 3, of 12, of 120 has multiplied into a global network of billions.

There is nothing needed in the Highlands right now more than a renewed interest in discipleship. But where do we begin? A good place is to listen to this interview with Doug Fell. Doug Fell travels the world speaking on the topic of disciple-making. In the course of this interview, he outlines a vision of discipleship that ought to spark the gospel passion of any Christian brave enough to listen. Here is a link to the interview:



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