REAL LIFE Discipleship

real life discipleship II

Over the next couple of months, you will have the opportunity to read some great blog posts related to the issue of discipleship. Discipleship is ultimately what we are about — making obedient followers of Jesus. The topic certainly deserves our attention. Bill Taylor introduced the topic last week, but as we embark on this short journey of discussion — and before we get too deep into the issue of discipleship — I want to spend a couple of moments contemplating the descriptors of “REAL LIFE.” Why have we attached that to the concept of discipleship?

Of course, there are several potential responses to that question. We could say that we want to consider REAL “life discipleship.”  In other words, not theoretical, academic, or even ideal, discipleship but discipleship that is truly life discipleship, honest and real. Not fake or pretend.

While that is true, I would like to suggest that there is something else bound up in that description. The discipleship we want to focus on is a discipleship that is expressed and experienced in “real life.”  And what is “real life?”  Bill suggested last week that it is complex – and messy. But allow me to push into further detail with a question.

Is “real life discipleship” made up of two hours in church on a Sunday morning?

“Included” yes, “made up,” only partly. “Reflected in” – maybe, “exhausted” – by no means. Sunday morning is only a small part of what we are thinking about. Any discipleship that is limited to our Sunday morning (or Saturday night, or Sunday evening) experience is more than just truncated, it is immature and unbalanced. The discipleship that Jesus calls us to is a real-life discipleship, which means discipleship that embraces all of life as we are experiencing it.

Monday morning is as much a part of our discipleship as Sunday morning. Your interaction with your boss, or employee, or client, should reveal your discipleship as much as your interaction with a friend after a Sunday service around a cup of coffee. Your tone with your children in response to their disobedience or defiance is as much discipleship as taking them to youth group on Thursday night. Your engagement with your neighbor is as much discipleship as your engagement with your pastor.

Real Life is your Sunday experience with your church family. But it is also so much more. Real life includes your workplace, your school, your kid’s school, your family, your neighbors, your hockey rink, your “enemies,” your politicians, your…. You get the point. Real life discipleship impacts all of life. Complete life, and honest life. It is about being a disciple in all of your real, actual life. The good. The bad. The ugly. The bright spots. The dark corners.

This is our calling, to help make real life disciples. And it can only succeed if we as leaders are embracing and exhibiting real life discipleship. Let us take off the masks, open our discipleship daytimers to all 7 days of our week, and expose our entire real life to the call of discipleship Jesus has for us. Are you brave enough to do that? I hope so. Join us in the journey.

Terry Kaufman
EFCC Leadership Catalyst