Here are some values that I see fitting in the framework of thinking about discipleship:
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations,… teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.”
Discipleship that Is Dominant
Here we see Jesus’ famous exhortation to his last disciples. It’s quite simple: Go and make more disciples.
In a Christian culture where evangelism and outreach may sometimes be the glory of the church, I am reminded that Jesus is not interested in just converts, he is interested in disciples. What I learn from reading Jesus’ consistent parables about what it means to enter the kingdom of God is that “converts” may or may not enter, but only those who “pick up their cross, and follow him” who show themselves to truly to be the people of God. The former is usually associated with people who call themselves “Christian” (which we know, of course, may or may not mean much), the latter is regarding followers of Jesus.
Our work is not to get people to say a sinner’s prayer, but to have them follow Jesus. Our work is not to obey the culture of our church, it is to obey the commands of Jesus. Our work is not short sighted either-we do not want people to follow Jesus for seasons of their lives, but for their entire life.
I believe that discipleship needs to be a dominant value in the church. We need to be able to train every single member of the body of Christ to disciple. This is an essential and an uncompromisable aspect of the mission of God.