Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Discipleship Trees

In American Football, especial at a professional level, there is a lot of talk about Coaching Trees. The idea is that a head coach passes his coaching philosophy on to his assistant coaches who then go on to coach their own teams. A coach’s tree can have multiple branches and generations of offspring, and is judged on how successful the subsequent generations of coaches on the tree perform.

The same sort of idea should be used in Christian Discipleship. The way most Christian leaders are judged today is based on how big their church attendance is, or how popular their books or sermons are. Instead, all Christians should be about the business of working on their discipleship tree.

Every Christian has been commanded to make disciples. This is not an optional task, nor does it mean that we are to simply share the Gospel. Making disciples involves seeing people begin a relationship with Christ and teaching them everything He taught…including the making of further disciples.

Theoretically, every Christian could have a Discipleship Tree constructed based on their efforts. It would include on the first level below their name a line of all the people they have discipled, and under each of them, the people they in turn have discipled and so on. Sadly for most Christians—even in vocational ministry—there would probably be few or no names on the first tier, let alone any further down the line. Come to think of it, in today’s Christianity, are most Christians even on anyone’s tree? We have become a Church focused on making converts and instituting traditions rather than making disciples and building relationships.

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