By Chuck Wood
We are sure that the bullseye in discipleship is Jesus Christ. He is our ultimate aim. Our goal is to help people become like Him and completely dependent on Him.
A young single person was sitting in the back seat of our car on the way to a retreat and, as is our custom, Deb and I grilled them on their walk with Jesus. They went on and on about the quality of their spiritual life and finally, I asked this question; “How does Jesus fit into all of this?” They responded very matter of factly, “Oh, yeah, that too.”
Now we were super kind and patient with them but, in my head, alarm bells were going off. WHAT!?! THAT TOO!?! First of all, Jesus is not a “that” He’s a He. Secondly, you just relegated Jesus off to an inconsequential appendage of your spiritual life. And if we are not careful, we can do the exact same thing with the most well-meaning discipleship program.
Jesus is the Bullseye
I hope you noticed that in almost every blog post, I use Jesus as the primary example. In fact, I get my definition of discipleship straight from Jesus Himself.
A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. It is enough for the disciple to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master… (Matthew 10.24-25a)
A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher. (Luke 6.40)
Our aim in spending time, proximity, influencing, and casting vision all has to do with the objective of helping the disciple of Jesus become like Him and fully dependant on Him. That’s why I use the word “apprentice” to define a disciple rather than just a follower or student. An apprentice’s aim is to become like the teacher. I think apprentice conveys a much better definition.
One last point. I never call the men and women I’m discipling “my disciples” (even though there is biblical precedence – Act 9.25). I may call them Timothys, my guys, or mighty warriors. But I never call them my disciples. Why? Because I want our aim to be crystal clear. Their goal is to become like Jesus, not me. The name disciple is a term of endearment that belongs to the Master and to the Master only. Besides that, could you imagine a bunch of little chuck woods running around?
Are you making disciples of Jesus?
Call to Action: In a conversation with your Timothys, count the number of times Jesus’ name comes off your lips. Read Colossians 1 out loud and time the reading. How many times does Paul refer to Jesus in that short amount of time?
A Blast from the Past: The Main Thing is to Keep the Main Thing the Main Thing
*Matthew 10.24-25 is in the context of describing persecution. If they persecuted the teacher, they will persecute the disciples.
**Luke 6.40 is in the context of warning. Jesus is exhorting the people and making the point that if one follows hypocritical leadership, they will become a hypocrite too.
Even though in these two contexts Jesus does not explicitly define a disciple for the purpose of definition, Jesus makes His definition of a disciple quite clear; One becoming like his teacher.