BY COMMON GROUND
“Oh man I needed that!” mumbled Steve as he mopped the sweat from his forehead.
Charlie and Steve had just completed their second week of training for the Community Fun Run. it was an annual marathon that was open to the public and used as a fund raiser for a local homeless shelter. Charlie and Steve have been running partners since their high school days.
“I always enjoy working out with you, Steve, ” Charlie countered. “You keep me motivated to stay in shape!”
“Say Charlie, ” Steve wondered, have you heard from Rob lately?”
“Not since the 10K in February-have you?”
“Not a word, ” answered Charlie, “I wonder how he’s doing now that he’s become a Christian?”
“Well, rumor has it that he’s really been slipping in his walk, ” Steve replied. “Apparently he’s even dropped out of the Adult Sunday School class at church. ”
“No kidding? I wondered why l hadn’t seen him at church. Say, Steve, weren’t you with him when he trusted Christ?”
I sure was, ” Steve boasted. “It was at the banquet after the 10K. He was one of the guests at the table that I bad sponsored.”
“Has anyone followed him up since be became a Christian?” asked Charlie.
“Well, I did get him to join our church. Surely someone on the staff has met with him since then.
What happened to Rob?
Rob, like many, came to the Savior with great expectations, only to fall by the wayside because of the lack of follow-up and the substitution of Christian activities for serious discipleship. Not long after joining the church, Rob was present for every activity his church had to offer. He also enrolled in a community-oriented Bible study, served soup on Saturdays in the city and even donated labor and materials to renovate a shelter for the homeless. Rob was quickly committed to all of the Christian causes. Unfortunately, no one took the time to be committed to Rob.
People like Rob join the family of Christ and later find themselves lost in a sea of expectations and activities with no one giving them the personal attention they need. Steve assumed that Rob -would be
followed up by someone in the church. Yet it was Steve who was instrumental in Rob’s salvation. Steve’s friendship could have continued to influence Rob in a discipling relationship, if only he had continued to spend time ‘with him.
Jesus told us to make disciples, not just converts. He modeled His plan for us by spending I significant time with His closest disciples.
Discipleship is not a class that produces a completed product in 8 weeks. It’s a lifelong process that begins at new birth and continues until we are with Christ in heaven. It is the process of following
Christ, becoming more like Him as we do. and passing on to others what God has entrusted to us. Here are some elements of the discipline process.
Lasting life change is more often caught than taught. The example we give has its greatest influence when it is seen and felt over an extended period of time. Spending time together also gives the disciple-maker the opportunity to tailor his teaching to the unique needs of his friend.
“…in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe”(1 Tim. 1:12).
As the new disciple begins to grow in his relationship with Christ, he will also begin to discover flow to invest his natural talents and spiritual gifts in the service of the Savior. The disciple-maker can stimulate and encourage wise and practical ways to use the new believer’s unique abilities.
“…for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ'(Eph. 5:12).
Discipleship is the process of becoming like Jesus Christ. The disciple-maker should model and encourage devotion to Christ in every aspect of life. To accomplish this, we must teach and demonstrate
obedience to the Word of God.
‘And the things which you hate heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, these entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also ” (2 Tim. 2:1-2).
As running partners, Charlie and Steve have discovered the benefits of training together. By running with others in a small group. it’s often easier to maintain a steady stride and a quickened pace. The group provides the impetus to run to win without giving in. Positive peer pressure encourages endurance and stimulates greater accountability.
The discipleship process is similar to running With a group. The goal is to finish the race with honor. The individual keeps his focus on the finish line-growing in relationship to Christ. The group should encourage the individual to become more like Christ-not like the group. Don’t forget…
before we can make disciples, we must be disciples;
to encourage others to keep their focus on Christ:
to include others who are new in Christ;
that making disciples includes reaching others for Christ.
It is the opportunity and the responsibility of every believer to not only welcome new friends into the family of Christ, but to run with them in a disciple-making relationship. What about you? Who are you
running with? Who could you be running with?
Resources you can use
Foundations- A six lesson study that provides a blueprint for building a relationship with God. It can be used one on one or in small groups to help people understand the basics of the Christian faith and how to put them into practice. Available front Search Ministries at the address below.
Growing in Christ-A thirteen week follow-up Course for new and growing Christians designed to help people master the fundamentals of the Christian life. Available from NAVPRESS, P.O. Box 20, Colorado
Springs. CO 80901. 800366-7788.
THE ABOVE MATERIAL WAS PUBLISHED BY SEARCH MINISTRIES INC., JUNE 1995.
THIS MATERIAL IS COPYRIGHTED AND MAY BE USED FOR STUDY & RESEARCH PURPOSES ONLY.