I found myself in a very interesting conversation the other day about what it means to be a disciple. It sounds like a silly question, but what does it mean to be a disciple of Jesus Christ?
The odds are that everyone who is in a worship service on a Sunday thinks that they are a disciple of Jesus. No Christian thinks they are wrong when it comes to understanding Jesus, but lets face it: everyone in Jesus' day was wrong about what it meant to be a disciple and I am not convinced that we have made much headway on having a better understanding.
There are a great number of conversations about having a clear discipleship pathway for church members. The underlying assumption is that we all know what a disciple looks like. But do we really?
For most of us, being a disciple is having a combination of some of the following qualities:
- Nice, pleasant, non-confrontational, cordial
- Does some sort of service, but not necessarily very demanding on the person
- Involved in a small group or Bible study
- Attends worship regularly
- Gives money to the church
- Refrains from doing "really bad things"
The list can go on, but the point being that discipleship is generally seen as a number of actions that a person does that enhance/better their lives. And so being a Christian is primarily about being happy and doing good.
I would like to submit that this way of understanding discipleship actually leads us to a place where Christianity is nothing more than painting a crumbling house. It looks nice and it masks the structural flaws, but the structure is still in disarray.
Rather, I would like to submit that discipleship is not about living your best life now or having everything roses and peaches in your life. It is not about joining a group of people to learn how to be better people or do nice things for others.
Following Jesus, being a disciple, is about dying. It is about dying to yourself. Thus, I submit we consider becoming Di(e)ciples.
Not sure when I will post more about Di(e)cipleship, but I hope more will come and perhaps a book thesis.