Six Roadblocks to Jesus-style Disciple Making
I live in a weird culture. I grew up in, and still live in the Bible Belt where not that long ago, most people believed in Jesus and went to church. However, within my lifetime it has become more common for people not to go to church. But given the history of the area, a lot of people still claim to believe in Jesus even though they no longer attend church. Or, conversely, they believe they have a good understanding of Jesus and Christianity and have squarely rejected them.
The weird thing is that no one really talks about Jesus. The church people will use Jesus’ name, but not in a manner like they really want to talk about Him. They will say things like, “Jesus saved me and lives in my heart,” or “I thank Jesus everyday for what He has done for me,” or “I wish everyone knew Jesus the way that I know Jesus.” But they are all vague statements and catchphrases that never really plunge into the depths of who Jesus really is and what He really wants in our lives.
Moreover, if you try to take the conversations deeper, you are met with more catchphrases and a sense that you are being socially inappropriate by questioning someone’s relationship with Jesus. Even those who believe they have rejected Jesus have their own catchphrases and canned replies they use when the topic of Jesus comes up. In both situations, it is clear that by pushing further, you are crossing an unspoken line and committing a social faux pas.
The whole thing got really weird for me when I started to discover what it meant to imitate and obey Jesus as His disciple. I was constantly crossing that unspoken line by trying to talk to people about being a disciple of Jesus instead of being just “a Christian.” I have lost friends because I tried to explain to them that believing in Jesus requires that we imitate and obey Him as His disciple (1 John 2:3-6). I have family members who don’t bring up church or Jesus around me anymore because they know I will cross the line. Even the outgoing believer who is willing to share his faith with me at the gas pump gets uncomfortable when I start trying to move the conversation toward the necessity of imitating and obeying Jesus as His disciple.
However, even when I have been able to convince Christians in my culture that the end goal of the gospel of Jesus is that believers bring glory to God by being recreated back into the image of God that they were originally created to be, and that doing so only occurs through imitating and obeying Jesus (who is the perfect image of God) as His disciple (by the power of the Holy Spirit), they still hesitate to fully commit to being and making disciples of Jesus.
I recently wrote a book on the scriptural argument for why it is necessary for believers to imitate and obey Jesus as His disciple titled Recreated to be Like God: Making Disciples in the Image of Jesus. Click here for a sample eBook—click here for the full paperback.
What I finally came to realize was that understanding why and how we are to imitate and obey Jesus as His disciples was only the first roadblock which was stopping believers in my culture from fully committing to discipleship and disciple making. The following is a list of the specific additional roadblocks that I have identified in my culture. You may find that you have the same or similar roadblocks in your culture and therefore this list may be of some assistance to you.
6 Roadblocks to Jesus-style Disciple Making
I clearly believe that this is the first roadblock and why we struggle to be and make disciples of Jesus-- that’s why I wrote a book about it. I may be partial to the argument, but I believe it is foolish to attempt to be and make disciples of Jesus without teaching the ultimate goal of doing so. My point being, if you don’t attempt to move past this roadblock first, you may be attempting to cross the other roadblocks with people who wouldn’t have been willing to cross this roadblock in the first place. Moreover, understanding this point will be necessary to work past the other roadblocks.
- Not Understanding Why and How We are to be Disciples of Jesus
|For King Jesus,
Curtis Erskine and the Discipleship.org Team
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