If you “feel the need for speed,” then starting a movement of discipleship in your church is probably not for you. Discipleship is not a fast process. There are several reasons for this.
- First, spiritual growth is more than just gaining information. Discipling someone is more than teaching them the catechism or leading them in a Bible study. We are working to develop the practices of Jesus in our lives. Information is the easy part. Conforming our lives to Jesus’ takes time.
- Second, a person can only disciple a few people at a time. Think about it: Jesus decided he could do justice to the discipleship process with just twelve people. Realistically, we can invest in only 7-8 people at a time. Even that might be too ambitious.
- Third, there is almost always attrition. Things come up in people’s lives that require them to pull back. People move or lose interest. Even Jesus lost one of the twelve and many of his other followers.
As we’ve attempted to create a culture of discipleship, it has gone slower than we had anticipated. Patience is a critical virtue. We’ve had to remind ourselves that it’s worth the time we’re putting into it. Jesus could have done his ministry any way he wanted. And he chose to do it through discipling a group of people. How about you? As you’ve worked to grow disciples, has it gone faster or slower than you’ve thought? Where are you seeing fruit?