The theme of discipleship has been thoroughly discussed by just about every pastor and spiritual leader, (the majority of them much more experienced than I) because it is the heart of what we do, reproducing the life and work that Jesus has done in us. We began our launch of OVS, a discipleship program here in El Salvador this week. Pastors Jerry Dirmann and Francisco Toledo along with the Rock Church in Anaheim have reproduced these disciplines developing “Solid Lives” in thousands of people (find our more here).
Because so many have developed, explicated, diagramed and dissected this topic so effectively, I won’t attempt to write eloquently on the subject. But, what I do want to give is 10 words that have described implementing discipleship in our context in El Salvador…and I bet that some of these may ring true with you, where you are:
1. Relationship – from Jesus with His 12 disciples, to parents with children, all ministry begins with relationship…an obvious conclusion, but one that often can be neglected for the sake of a class, teaching, or even a program.
2. Perseverance – the term covenant relates here more than contract. Though some discipling relationships may be temporary, there still must be a foundation of commitment that stays the course in spite of seeming failure or loss of momentum.
3. Patience – three steps forward, two steps back…take it in stride. Growth takes a lifetime to complete.
4. Disappointment – expectations and vision fuel good discipleship, but can also derail long term growth if we give up when progress seems to stall out.
5. Breakthrough – the joy that comes after numbers 2-5 are invested in consistently.
6. Insight – on the other side of breakthrough in our own lives, we have experience and insight available to share from our lives into the lives of others, which helps another to stay the course. True insight comes from having been taught by the Holy Spirit in the context of our life.
7. Change of Perspective – what develops when the seed of insight is sown in the garden of life, and experience and time show it to be true.
8. Consistency – it has been said in other words above, but bears repeating, and repeating, and repeating…
9. Family – as part of the “body of Christ” we are part of a family. We know this. How many stories of lives changed had a mentor, disciple-er who went above and beyond to invest in another…counted the cost and invested as though they were one of their own children. Again the word covenant over commitment, meaning “family” denotes a deeper level of commitment. Though many have had bad experiences with family, we still choose to use the language of fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, sisters and brothers.
10. Vision – discipleship happens, good or bad. The beauty of being a disciple of Christ, is that we know, in the end, if we are reproducing the life of Jesus in others, we have succeeded. How many chase another cause, another esteemed figure, another “idol” teaching others to do the same, only to find that it was the wrong one.
But we Christians have no veil over our faces; we can be mirrors that brightly reflect the glory of the Lord. And as the Spirit of the Lord works within us, we become more and more like him. (2 Corinthians 3:18)