You read it right, I’m saying that discipling is something that we need to forget about, at least in the short term. I know Jesus says that we need to go and make disciples of all the nations, that we are to spread the gospel to all Jerusalem, Judea, and to the ends of the earth (which always struck me as kind of weird, I mean He’s God, he created the world so He knew about the whole globe thing…). I understand that the pattern of teacher and student is one of discipleship and it is a pattern that Jesus gave us for developing one another and building one another up in Christ. I understand that this is the pattern we have followed for 2,000 odd years and it is a good tradition and a good pattern.
But to be perfectly honest, I’m not convinced it’s working.
Why? Because essentially, we aren’t modeling our discipleship process after Jesus and the 12.
- We aren’t full time. Jesus and the 12 were together all the time learning and teaching and discipling. How many of us can say the same thing?
- We don’t have the vision. Jesus knew very clearly what was going on in each of the disciples. He knew where they were, what growth points they needed to hit, and what steps to take to be the person that God intends that person to be. How many of us know exactly what God has in store for the people we’re discipling?
- We aren’t fully committed. At least I’m not. I can tell you at least a half dozen things that on any given day are distracting me from being a better disciple and raising up disciples.
So my response to the problem might be severe, but I think it’s valid. I think we need to forget about discipleship for a time at least while we figure out what discipleship really means. Because the problems I mentioned above are ultimately unimportant. They’re really things I assume we need (I don’t know if anyone out there agrees with me but feel free to be honest about it) in order to be real disciples of Christ. So for myself, I’m going to shift gears for a little bit and focus on mentoring. Very similar but with mentoring I get certain advantages I wouldn’t necessarily get from discipling.
- I am playing to my strengths. I’m not going to mentor someone who wants to be a pro-football player, I mean what do I know about the business? Love the game, but not a great mentor for that one. I know what my limits are and I know where my strengths are so I can mentor people in those specific areas I’m strongest.
- I see the big picture. Discipleship gets me caught up in minutia. Pick your minutia, I’ve gotten caught up in it. But with Mentoring, I know what the big picture is; I can take the long view because I’ve been through the mill already.
- Close relationship. Mentoring is one on one. I only have to worry about one person, with one set of problems, and my relationship to that one person. Discipleship can happen with lots of people all at once and I can let people fall through the cracks. One on one, that doesn’t happen.
What do you think about Mentoring versus Discipling?