It’s fascinating to me that two people can experience the same thing in opposite ways. For instance, one person might hear a sermon and say, “That was the best message I’ve ever heard,” while someone else will say, “I didn’t get anything out of it.”
As a campus minister I hear things like…
“I wouldn’t be who I am without this ministry and I want other students to experience it.”
“The campus ministry isn’t fun anymore. I don’t get as much out of it as I used to.”
For the longest time I didn’t know what to do with these comments. Sometimes I would vilify the people who didn’t like where things were going. Other times I’d try to please everyone. Both ended in frustration.
The Real Life Discipleship Training Manual helped me to categorize these statements. This manual is a simple, straightforward, and thorough approach to explaining discipleship. Nothing has helped our campus ministry leadership team more when it comes to getting on the same page.
The authors break spiritual growth down into five categories…
- The spiritually dead | characterized by rebellion and unbelief
- The spiritual infant | characterized by ignorance, confusion, and dependence
- The spiritual child | characterized by self-centeredness, idealism, overconfidence, and under confidence
- The spiritual young adult | characterized by a God and others centered outlook
- The spiritual parent | characterized by reproducing disciples and feeding themselves
There’s an important shift that takes place between being a spiritual child and a spiritual young adult. A spiritual child is self-centered. By the time a person becomes a spiritual young adult they’ve developed an others centered approach.
Every growing disciple will eventually make the shift from being selfish to selfless.
The spiritual child typically says…
“I am not being fed in my church, so I am going to a church that meets my needs better.”
The spiritual young adult typically says…
“I love my group, but there are others who need a group like this.”
Every disciple has to make the shift from focusing on themselves to focusing on others or they’ll be perpetually frustrated.
Every experience eventually disappoints no matter how great it is. The same is true for churches. No matter how great the preaching or worship is, eventually, we all come up short.
Those who are perpetually frustrated in churches ask: “What are you going to do for me?” And, eventually, you can’t do enough to keep them happy. Eventually, the luster wears off.
Those who find contentment in churches ask: “What can I do to help?” Regardless of a church’s shortcomings, these people find a way to make an impact on others. They’ve made the shift to thinking about making disciples.
Making disciples is every church’s mission. It’s the only marching orders we’ve received from Jesus (Mt. 28:19-20). A church can’t function properly unless every member is making disciples. So, find a place, plug in, and ask, “What can I do to bless someone? How can I help to make disciples?”
What’s the best discipleship resource you’ve come across? I’d really like to know!