Discipleship classes? I almost think that’s almost an oxymoron. Classes, in the form we are all used to, spoon out information. I’ve taken plenty of classes in my life. Most of them consisted of someone lecturing while I scribbled notes to prepare to pass a test. I’ve taken online classes, college classes, DVD classes and some hands-on classes. Most of them have been pretty helpful. Some have been as painful as eating glass. I remember felt-covered boards in Sunday school classes long ago and getting yelled at for turning a fair-skinned, glowing Jesus upside down like he was standing on his head on the water instead of walking on it. I thought it was funny but my teacher thought it was blasphemous and she let me know. At length. Loudly.
But then there’s this word “discipleship.” A disciple is more than a learner. A disciple is a follower who puts teachings into practice. It is a relationship-based term. When you read scripture you quickly see that Jesus’ disciples were not copious note-takers stressing about upcoming exams. They wanted to know Jesus, not just know about Him.
If you’ve been going to church for a long time, I bet you know a lot about Jesus. I bet you excel in bible trivia games and always get the bible questions right when you watch jeopardy. Me too. It feels pretty good. That is, it feels good until someone else knows the name of the high priest servant who got his ear sliced off in the garden and I don’t. Man, then I feel like a loser when my Christian friends give me that down-the-nose look that says, “you should know that!” (It’s Malchus, by the way.)
Classes are good. Bible study is good. But, apart from relationship and sharing life with others, we risk missing the point of what Jesus came to say. Boiled down to its very simplest form – God loves us, God gave us Jesus, we trust and we get a whole new view of what life is meant to be. It’s called “Good News.” A new beginning. Life.
This path of following Jesus is not meant to be walked alone. I dare you to plug in with a group of Christ-followers who are more concerned with becoming like Jesus than they are with filling in all the blanks in their workbooks.
Get together outside of Sunday service, eat, laugh loud, praise, worship, enjoy the kids, relax and talk about what God is doing. Share life. Share resources. Share struggles and pray. Do it and I bet the same thing will happen as happened in Acts 2:46-47 – people will like what they see and people will be changed.
Discipleship takes time. There’s no magic wand that will speed up the process. If there is, it’s broken.