Should churches primarily view discipleship as a “program” or a “lifestyle”?

Church should not primarily view discipleship as special event or a flashy program. Discipleship is not something that’s occasional or out of the ordinary, something that can be sealed off from the rest of our Christian lives. To be a Christian is to be a disciple of Christ. And being a disciple of Christ means

  • (i) looking to others for help in being like Christ (to be a disciple);
  • (ii) looking to help others be like Christ (to disciple).

Therefore, churches should view discipleship as a lifestyle. It should constitute an ordinary part of being a Christian and a church member. It’s what a follower of Christ does.

This means that churches may or may not use programs to promote discipleship. But they definitely want promote a culture of discipleship. It should be normal for younger Christians to discuss spiritual matters over meals with older Christians. It should be normal for younger Christians to spend time in older Christians’ homes to see them apply their faith to every area of life, down to how they put their kids to bed. By God’s grace, a church that fosters a culture of discipleship will be full of members who look more and more like the Lord Jesus (1 Cor. 11:1).

9Marks articles are made possible by readers like you. Donate Today.