If Jesus is truly Lord, He ought to lead the discipleship process. In fact, we are not the disciples of other people; according to the Bible, we are Jesus’ disciples. So what does discipleship look like when He leads the process? How can we learn to cooperate with His leadership, in community, so that we can stir each other to love and good works?
For starters, we should learn to pay attention to what’s going on in the disciple’s life. Often we tend to be more concerned with cleaning up a new disciple’s life, of making sure he or she fits into our subculture. This is a mistake. I’d much rather try to help someone who is rough around the edges engage with God than train someone how to fit into a squeaky-clean subculture. God is interested in holiness, but He works at His own pace. He chooses the issues He wants to deal with. When we take over, we end up discipling people in how to clean up the outside of the cup and not really deal with the filth inside. We’re training them to become hypocrites. Only the Holy Spirit can really change a life. We must learn to let the Counselor do what the Counselor is good at.
The end point, then, in this type of discipleship is changed lives that lead to obedience. The Holy Spirit does that changing as He leads the process. Those who engage with God will start to become like God in character. As the Holy Spirit takes control of their lives, they will start to express the character of the One who is in control of their spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
This kind of discipleship is not only possible, it’s also powerful and satisfying. It connects us with Jesus and teaches us how to live in His supernatural power and with a deep, abiding, fulfilling relationship with Him. This kind of discipleship leads us to become individuals and communities committed to seeing God’s will done on earth and with the power to see it through to completion. It’s the kind of discipleship we need if we are to see a viral movement of the Spirit once again in the West.
My friends and I long to see such a contagious pandemic of the gospel sweep through the West. We long to be a part of it. We hope to see Jesus sneezed from one person to another like the spread of the Jesus virus. We desire to see Jesus’ supernatural power become normal again here in the West. We dream of a time when viral discipleship becomes normal. Will you join us? Will you not only dream with us, will you also ask Jesus to make it happen? Will you trust Him and obey Him when He asks you to participate with Him in the impossible? I believe that this is one more instance where Jesus would say, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
Ross Rohde is a house church planter and house church planting coach in the San Francisco Bay Area. A missionary for nearly 20 years, he has worked as a consultant and speaker on the effects of postmodernism on the European church.
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