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The Complexity and Simplicity of Discipleship

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Over the past week in facilitating church planter training on discipleship, I was once again challenged by the need to focus on making disciples.

If the Gospel is planted in a community and disciples are grown in that context, there will be a new church.

Discipleship is an imperative. Yet many times the planter can get lost in the Sunday “affair” and programs without nurturing his soul and then helping a few others to grow with him as a Jesus follower. Church planting can be complex, yet the Great Commission remains a simple mandate for all believers.

During my morning Bible study time, I was reading through 2 Timothy anew and I was impressed by two simple verses. The Word is an essential part of the life of every believer, and it is simple and true.

“All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work” 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (CSB).

Paul in this pastoral epistle is giving direction and guidance to Timothy. He clearly states that the Word is from God. The authority and power of the Bible is not a man’s idea, it is God’s. Paul says that the Word is to be used in teaching (doctrinal truth), rebuking (rebuffing/reproofing), correcting (show a different path/truth) and equipping (moral training).

As I have been thinking through discipleship in the church, I once again was hit by the need to use the Word faithfully to not just preach and teach but to deal with conflict, character, wrong motives, broken relationships, etc. with the Word. These though are best carried in a trusting and growing relationship as you grow in Jesus with others.

The challenges and division in our churches are many times the direct results of the lack of Biblical discipleship. Followers of Jesus should be growing in Christ-likeness, fruitfulness and servanthood. We are called to invest in the essential, and the complexity of faith is community that can be through that simplified in followship and obedience to the Cross.

Who are you discipling and investing in so they can grow as a believer?

Where does your time in ministry go weekly? How much could you and your committed group give to making disciples?

What would you have to say “no” to?

State Missionary Brian Harper serves as lead church planting strategist. He may be contacted at 1-800-264-1225, ext. 2332, or (334) 613-2332,

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