And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.
Acts 2:42 ESV
It is wonderful to speak about the importance and preeminence of making disciples; however, most of it is meaningless if we never ask the next question: How do we make disciples?
There has been a wonderful movement over the last several years to reclaim discipleship.
The state of the modern church looked rather bleak. The need to be comforted and encouraged slowly replaced the gospel call toward holiness and sanctification. Worship preference replaced joyfully solemn worship of the Holy One. And many saw these changes as the failure to make biblically-mandated disciples.
The response was to bring discipleship to an individual level, emphasizing that each Christian has the responsibility to make disciples. Typically, one-on-one regular meetings are promoted most, though discipleship within small groups has also become tremendously popular.
As I said, this is a wonderful and much-needed movement, but we must also be careful not to jump to another equally dangerous extreme in reaction.
I believe discipleship, like our own walks with the Lord, occurs on two fronts, individually and communally.
In the past, we tended to rely upon the church community alone to make disciples, but we must be wary of over-emphasizing individual discipleship now, lest we ignore the benefits of community discipleship.
Because these posts are focused upon the church as a whole, I will spend more time covering the three basic forms of communal discipleship (Scripture, Prayer, and Community) within the next three series.
But for now, let us briefly discuss over the next three posts the three broad ways that we are able to make disciples at an individual level: witnessing, evangelism, and teaching.