Number 2 Blog Post from 2010

#2 by reader visits in 2010. This one generated quite a bit of discussion and I hope it generates more. Here it is again with some slight emendations.  It is also coming soon to youtube.com.

We Have Discipleship All Wrong

The surprising thing is that what I am about to write will sound radical.  It’s not. It’s biblical.  It’s what Jesus taught, which I suppose was radical in its time.  But it is not the practice of the modern church, so it is going to sound radical because it goes against all our experience.

Here’s my thesis:
Discipleship is evangelistic before it is formative.

In the typical church, mention the word discipleship and the first thought generated will be along the line of deepening people into greater maturity in Christ.  But Jesus starts the process with one of the most clear and simple verses in all of Scripture.

“Follow me and I will make you to be fishers of men.” (Mark 1:17; cf Matt. 4:19)

Straight forward and simple.  We follow him.  He makes us fishers of men. Condition and promise or, if you prefer, action and promise.

Here’s the stunningly simple question: Does Jesus keep his promises?  Obvious response: Absolutely.

So if I follow Jesus he will make me a fisher of men.  But the verse indicts me as a non-follower of Christ if I am not fishing for men.

Therein lies a major problem in our approach to discipleship.  We bypass the fishing and move right to the kitchen with fish that others have caught and delivered for processing.

It’s artificial. It is not the way of Jesus.  And it doesn’t work.

Jesus didn’t say he would make us cooks. (Nothing against cooks!)  He said he would make us fishers of men.  To follow him means that we fish for men.  A discipleship process that by-passes the start of the process misunderstands the whole process.

Our churches are filled with “fisherman” who never fish.  They don’t understand the process.  But it is worse than that. Our disobedience and failure to fish for men truncates our growth in Christ.

“What, you mean to tell me that if I am not fishing for men my walk with God will some how be warped?”

That’s what Jesus says.

“Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.”  ( John 14:21 ESV)

Jesus ties further disclosure of himself to obedience to his commands.  If you want to grow in Christ, if you want to become a true disciple of Christ, start doing evangelism.  And watch your understanding of the resurrected One grow according to his promise which he always keeps.

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© Marty Schoenleber, Jr. 2010

2 thoughts on “Number 2 Blog Post from 2010

  1. I agree that everyone need to share their faith with others. However, people need to understand what sharing the gospel really is. Just because we tell people, doesn’t mean they truly hear the gospel. What I mean is that we cannot shove the gospel at someone, and then reply, “I told them the gospel”, and simply move on. Fishermen know the right bait (message to share, to get people to listen), the right places to fish (good soil or those they know who can truly hear the gospel), and they re-bait, and cast, re-bait and cast, over and over again. Fishermen also talk with other fishermen to find out what works, what doesn’t work and how to be better. Good fishermen share their stories of success, help out new fishermen with best practices and so on. (Good disciples do the same thing, we share our stories, we encourage, we give advice, etc)

    However, if you do not fish you will not learn, we all make mistakes and have to learn from them, but we also need to be prepared.

    What I think the church has created is a sense of fear that if you don’t have all the answers you cannot and should not share your faith, that is WRONG!
    Some also think that if they just bring people to the church, then the church will share the gospel and take responsibility away from them, also not okay.

    Liked by 1 person

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