Proverbs 27:17 Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.
Acts 2:42 And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.
“Intentional, transformational churches are rare in America today. Simultaneously, Organic discipleship training is, for the most part, a lost practice in churches today. I realize that the word discipleship is used in many ways and that there are many varieties (or degrees) of discipleship. But as I speak of discipleship here, I refer to the most mature form defined as “life-on-life, laboring in the lives of a few.” The link between discipleship and evangelism must be recognized and addressed. Evangelism and discipleship are the food and drink of the intentional, healthy church. Healthy church survival depends on a consistent practice of biblical evangelism (providing the specific means for people to respond in faith to Christ) and discipleship (providing the specific training for people to grow in their faith, including becoming equipped to share that faith with others).
‘The need for such discipleship becomes all too obvious when we consider the following four realities:
- Every believer has been or is presently living under great bondage to sin. (addicted)
- Decisions to leave sin addictions are routinely followed by relapses.
- Life-on-life, laboring in the lives of a few, is God’s master plan for rescuing addicts.
- Without life-on-life discipleship, we run the risk of producing immature believers, at best, and disillusioned learners, at worst.
‘Organic discipleship (The average Christian’s job.): this describes the life-on-life side of discipleship. It is Jesus saying to His disciples, “Follow Me.” This is the “caught” part of discipleship in comparison with the “taught” part. It is being together, learning with the world’s circumstances as the classroom and the disciple-maker’s life and experiences as the textbook (all based on the foundation of the Word of God). Such hands-on training may take place on the basketball court or going together to a ministry appointment. This is relationship over a period of time long enough to involve significant life challenges and changes for both the disciple and the disciple-maker. Few engage in it.
‘Engineered discipleship (The average Pastor’s job.): a term used to describe the structural and planned side of discipleship. This is the intentional preaching/teaching/sacraments side of discipleship, the means of grace. God’s Word also provides the basis for content.
In organic discipleship, God’s Word provides answers, responses, and guidance in immediate situations; in engineered discipleship, God’s Word provides preparation, instruction, and equipping for yet-to-be-faced challenges in life.”
Pope, Randy. The Intentional Church: Moving from Church Success to Community Transformation. Moody Publishers. Kindle Edition.
It is one thing to be devoted to the means of grace through the teaching and preaching of the church. It seems to be quite another to also be devoted to “the fellowship, the breaking of bread and the prayers”, or to the life-to-life relationships we need to help us break addictions to sin and grow to maturity. Consider how many years of life you may have left on earth and realize that your church cannot be an intentionally transformational church unless you are devoted to intentional, organic, iron-on-iron disciple-making relationships.
Be one of God’s Iron Men or Women.