What is Discipleship? (and Why Is It Important?)

Discipleship brings a living incarnation of Christ closer to the younger Christian for them to examine.

In large part, discipleship is simply an older Christian taking an interest in the life of a younger Christian and sharing with him, guiding him—just helping him along the Christian journey. This may include teaching of Scriptures, or it might be more informal. Ideally, the older Christian will have already gone through a lot of the situations and problems that the younger Christian is currently going through. Then he will be able to understand the younger and share his reflections both during and after those times.

Discipleship brings a living incarnation of Christ closer to the younger Christian for him to examine. Biblically, we see discipleship occurring again and again: Moses to Joshua, Elijah to Elisha, Jesus to his disciples, Paul to Timothy. Eventually, as the younger Christian matures, he will understand how to approach the Word directly to confront his problems. The goal of discipleship, therefore, is to get the younger Christian "independently dependent" on Christ himself.

Why is Discipleship Important?

Although attending large group is beneficial to our spiritual growth, it does not, and does not claim to, fill all of our spiritual needs.

First, there is the question of how applicable the same message can be to everyone at a specific time when we all have such different needs and problems. Expecting the same message at large group to address everybody's specific problems is somewhat like expecting a doctor to successfully prescribe the same prescription to heal the common cold as well as a bad liver. Discipleship, then, provides the younger Christian with an older Christian to ask questions that are specifically pertinent to him.

Secondly, large group provides a sense of communal fellowship, but at some cost ...

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