The word "discipleship" sounds a bit overused to me – I guess we call that a cliché. I can’t get around it. I mean, it’s a great word, but I think it’s been drug through too many potholes against its own desire.
I feel this way because the word now carries too much baggage — so much baggage that just misses the intent of the word, I think.
Discipleship: it’s the same thing as apprenticeship, except that instead of one area of apprenticeship (like an intern learning a work style) it’s an emulation of a complete lifestyle. Everything.
One of the unfortunate mud pits "discipleship" has been drug through is the Sunday school hour. Many of these hours have it right on! I mean, they’re designed to be a conversation on how to live (i.e., to be a disciple or all-of-life apprentice to Jesus). Some though get caught up in information-only where souls and minds become an unfortunate repository for collecting information (like today’s online Wikipedia). Information alone is cute, but doesn’t help us live. Trying to live without guidance or information is like trying to do calculus with wooden blocks with numbers and letters on them.
Discipleship. I think we can remember the words of Jesus at the end of the Gospel Matthew wrote: "Go and make disciples of people from all over the world – teaching them the way of life and baptizing them into this lifestyle in the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit."
Now the question remains: how? How do we "make disciples?" What and how do we teach? What’s the point? The aim?
The aim: people who are learning how to live life to the fullest, really. And this is something that needs to be redefined because is doesn’t have much to do with income, prestige, etc. Well, take that back, it really doesn’t have anything to do with those things.
To end: the point of the church’s existence is to be a place where people come together to live life in apprenticeship to Jesus – to remember that because of Jesus God holds no barrier to life for us. …to learn to walk life as Jesus did because he is the Author of all that is and now all things hold together in him. I mean, if someone knows how to really live, this is the guy!
May we all come together and express thankfulness and absolute, attentive gratitude to this God who grows life within us because of the love he has for us.