When Can Discipleship Be a Bad Thing?

March 3, 2011 — 1 Comment

Continuing our series on Focus in Discipleship. Click to read the other posts in the series: What We Talk about, They Talk About, 5 Things We Want Every Student to Experience, and Risk of Getting Too Fancy

1. When we make it about them

  • What are we all really good at? Thinking about ourselves!
  • And yet what do many discipleship appointments focus on? Ourselves!
  • My dating. My personal sin. My personal goals. My development.
  • One of our primary goals in discipleship should be to help students “To live not for themselves but for Him who died for them” II Corinthians 5:15
  • We should be constantly pointing them toward Christ, toward His mission, AND away from themselves
  • So sitting every week in a coffee shop for 2 hours talking about the girl they have a crush on this week IS NOT discipleship.
  • And it could actually be worse than not meeting at all (as it only feeds selfishness)
  • A simple step forward we’re taking: Moving all our appointments into the dorms, engineering buildings and fraternities. And out of Chick-Fil-A and Coffee shops.
  • Putting ourselves in a position to do ministry together.

2. When we make it about us

  • Discipleship can become about me being their functional messiah:
  • They bring me a list of problems – I email them some verses to fix their problems. They come up with more problems and bring them to me
  • When either 1) We leave or 2) They graduate – they are unable to walk with God on their own
  • Tim Henderson, Cru director at Penn State, puts it this way:

“Typically, students in Cru get increasing attention over time culminating in the greatest attention their senior year. Then the day after graduation, it all suddenly goes away.
A friend of mine who works with graduate students observed to me that in graduate school, where the plan from day one is to create independent adults, they increase independence over time, not attention. In this way the newest, youngest grad students get the most attention to lay their foundation, and the oldest grad students function independently. The day before graduation is little different from the day after graduation since they have been steadily moving towards greater independence.
It seems that we have something to learn from this system.”

Discipleship is constantly pulling them away from themselves and toward Christ and His Mission.

What has helped you in discipleship to not make it not about you or them?


photo courtesy of stahrdust3



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