During the last several decades the Church in Western culture has become over-programmed. I think we educated ourselves into this predicament. There now exists a program for almost everything including discipleship. But that is changing. A new generation loves God and the rest of us so much they are unwilling to settle for anything less than a return to something simple and less complicated.
I have been a pastor for almost 35 years. I became a believer when I was a young boy. I have never attended a single class on discipleship. Frankly, because of my understanding of relational discipleship, I wouldn’t even know how to teach on the subject. When discipleship becomes an academic topic transmitted through an educational process, I think it loses some of its original intent.
My initial imprint on the subject came years ago when a wise leader said, “Discipleship is never taught – it is caught. Discipleship is hanging out together on purpose.” This sounds like something Jesus would say. For three years He walked, lived, ate and shared life with 12 people. This relationship was not accomplished with programs, but with His presence. It was in the presence of Jesus where the first disciples experienced life together that the miracle of becoming a disciple took place. It is a miracle because it is a Spirit-generated process of transformation.
As I look at a new generation within the Church, I believe they share the same heart for discipleship that Jesus shared with His disciples – they want presence over programs. They know that more true discipleship can take place in a Starbucks or on a long walk with a friend having a troubled moment of life than in a cold classroom setting in a building dedicated to religious use on Sunday morning.