Earlier this summer Regent University invited me to instruct an eight-week online class called, Christian Discipleship. Most of the students in this class are Seniors and will be graduating within the year. The course was designed to equip Christ followers to engage in helping people apply the Bible to their daily lives which is so promoted within the New Testament and especially detailed in Matthew 28:18-20 as well as other New Testament scriptures. The course is excellently designed with all the right texts provided to learn how to be a disciple and disciple-maker.
We are presently half-way through the course….
The surprise for me is the great impact that it is having on these students. We are realizing that discipleship must be done either one on one or through small group community and in a very safe environment of trust.
One student said, “In order to pour into others, we must pour into our own spiritual health…” Another student responded “I am a visual person and when I read that statement I pictured having a pitcher of water and giving others a glass of water from my pitcher. However, eventually I would run out of water and need to refill it to continue giving water to other.”
I wrote my class the following email…….
“Class, we are in the middle of week #4 in our discussions and emphasis on Christian Discipleship. As I have read your discussions, responses and scriptural reflections I feel it is having a tremendous spiritual impact on most of your lives. And I might say, ME Too! 😊 We must also remember that Christian Discipleship begins at salvation and continues until the end of our lives (its more than an 8-week course). Let me also add that Discipleship comes with many different faces and sometimes it does not feel good at all. However, God is at work in each of our lives, preparing us, discipling us, molding us into what He has decided for us as our destiny.
I have been a Christ follower for about 50 years and what a journey it has been. A few weeks ago I wrote a Facebook post as follows………
I believe that God’s plan for your life is revealed in stages……..it is all wrapped up in believing in what God says……..trusting Him every day and believing that your failures, adversities, ups, downs, pain and heartaches are a part of the plan…………just trust Him, He knows what He is doing…. his track record is unblemished.
My personal journey in Discipleship took a remarkable detour about 15 years ago in 2003. I had been the Sr. Pastor of a new church plant for 26 years. I was physically and emotionally drained because, performance, performance, performance was my life. I had lost my vision and enthusiasm for ministry. I had no one to come along side of me to encourage me and talk through the difficulties and adversities that we pastors are bombarded with. The results came in the form of a series of bad decisions and a total spiritual burnout and almost destruction. BUT, God in His grace, saw my need and used people of grace to lift me up out of the ashes of bad decisions and set me on a journey that I never knew any Christ follower could experience. What a God. Today, I am more excited about Him, His Word, His Church and His people than I have ever been.”
The question we must ask ourselves is, who is pouring into your life the principles of the Word of God and secondly, who are you pouring your life into? For you to say, “oh, I get it by just going to church.” I would respond to you by saying… “impossible!”