Dangerously defining discipleship

Richard Heyduck recounts his experiences in a congregation trying to nudge people into putting specific definitions behind the words we all use:

At the time I thought focusing on making disciples would be a good idea. Jesus commands it, after all, and there were plenty of potential disciples around. I thought that if we were going to make disciples, learning to be disciples might be a good starting point. I did a study with the church leadership about the nature of discipleship. We look at the characteristics of discipleship. I soon learned that I had a problem. They’d heard the word discipleship enough over the years that they just assumed everything they already did were acts of discipleship. “Move along, preacher, nothing to see here. No change needed.” So I pushed back, adding some teeth to the description, highlighting the differences between the biblical picture of discipleship and our current reality. You may guess that it was not well-received.

Heyduck observes that it is much better for a church to have a difficult-to-achieve but clear goal than to have a fuzzy goal, especially if you’ve already met that goal just be being alive.

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