Yes, I was part of a discipleship program at the church I attended for 10 years. It was a two year course, and then I learned so much I took 2 more years to teach (facilitate) it, but it was at the tail end of the 4th year that it hit me like a punch from Mike Tyson. It was then I Iearned the most.
I came to the conclusion that the institutional church “system” is bassackwards. I cannot remember where I read this quote, so I do not know who wrote it, but it summed everything up for me. Here it is:
“Churches don’t make disciples – Disciples make churches”
I do not think churches should continue teaching how to strive to be like Jesus. That only led me to failure and frustration. Has anyone ever felt like this when striving to be like Jesus?
In John 5, Jesus Himself said that without the Father He could do nothing. Then later in the book of John, Jesus said “Without Me, you can do nothing”.
This is where I feel the “system” of church is off a bit. The Body of Christ should be focused on learning how to live by the indwelling life of Christ, not striving to be like Christ. That to me makes sense on what it is all about, and what it means to be a disciple, a follower of Jesus.
It’s not about trying to imitate His outward actions. It is about imitating how He lived His life, by the indwelling life of God.
After I left the system, the sense of guilt, the condemnation, and the religious duty all went away. Life outside the institution is wonderful for me, there are no discipleship programs; yet everyones relationship is an outflow of the eternal relationship between the Father and the Son through the Spirit (something churches do not attempt to teach.. might scare off the members 🙂 )
I love making disciples! I just have come to dislike discipleship programs.
Thoughts? Concerns? Questions? Let me know.