Back to Basics:
Like any relationship, discipleship is flexible and continually evolving. We should be looking after effective models of genuine discipleship.
With all the rising and falling discipleship movements and the changes in churches brought by the waves of time, we should not forget the essentials. The heart of discipleship which was is, and will always be Jesus. The most effective discipleship model in the 21st Century is the way Jesus modeled it to his first disciples.
The System of Simplicity
There will always be hardships that come along with discipleship. The first disciples of Jesus did not have an easy life as they took on the great commission of making disciples of all nations. They were uneducated, ordinary citizens who were once fishermen and tax collectors, to name a few.
They were not schooled in any theological college or seminary, but they thrived on being the best followers of Jesus, who once left their fishing nets to become fishers of men.
Their mission was not easy and more complex than what we face in the 21st Century. However, we can learn from their system of simplicity that enables discipleship to thrive from their generation to the present.
Growth takes time
According to Bob Fuhs, small discipleship groups can be made simple. There are discipleship principles in small groups that we can apply. First, we need to know and remember that “Growth takes place over time.” Since growth takes time, small group structure needs to respect that with their members. Small groups should create an environment where people can grow without being rushed or forced to mature.
Jesus chose the people he’d minister to
The second principle of Fuhs is that “Jesus practiced selection.” In the Gospels, we can see that Jesus selected or handpicked only 12 men to work closely with him and trained them in ministry. Jesus did not run after people. There are times that he secluded himself from large crowds.
When Jesus offered the words of eternal life, many of his followers turned their backs and no longer walked with him.
So Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?”
Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and we have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.”
Jesus answered them, “Did I not choose you, the twelve? …”
Small group structure and leadership development system
The third principle of Fuhs is that “Your small group structure is your leadership development structure. Jesus never commanded us to go and lead Bible studies. His command was to make disciples.”
Further, he notes that the Bible is our textbook and guide, but our small groups’ overall purpose is not to get to know the Bible better.
In the same light, the goal of our small groups is to build leaders, to build disciples, more specifically — to build multiplying disciples.
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