Thursday, March 22, 2012

Discipleship: Accountability vs. Supervision

Followers of Jesus are called to be contagious—to help other people become followers as well. This is seen multiple times in Scripture, in passages that are collectively named “The Great Commission.” In it, Jesus commissions His disciple to make more disciples. Not convert people. Not evangelize. Make disciples. He goes on to say that, in making disciples, they are to teach people to “observe all that I have commanded you.”

That obeying Jesus’ teachings bit is simple, but not easy. It is simple because we have Jesus’ teaching available and there is not a lot of it. It is not easy because he didn’t spell out every aspect of life. He mostly told us to do things like listen to the Father and do what He says. That is the most important thing a disciple can be taught to do.

We are called to make disciples of Jesus, but we tend to cop out and make disciples of ourselves. We don’t teach people to listen to God and do what He says, we tell them to listen to us and what we think we have heard. That is not the same thing. It is the difference between accountability and supervision. Supervision is telling someone what to do and making sure they do it. Accountability is helping someone understand what God wants and helping them succeed at what they have determined to do. Supervision is one way while accountability works best in both directions.

We forget that we are followers of Jesus inviting people to join us as fellow followers. We think more in terms of inviting people to follow us as we try to follow Christ. When is that really a good idea? Instead of setting ourselves up as some sort of better follower leading lesser ones, we should come alongside people and walk together helping each other stick to the path we are following.

1 comment:

  1. Well said! Of course there are passages where Paul says (somewhat paraphrased) "copy me" which could create for an interesting discussion, but I don't think they are preaching "follow me".

    The other thing that occurs to me is how much the secular world we live in has gone down the same line. The world doesn't like being responsible and accountable, instead its "no one is watching so I can get away with it" type mentality, and governments respond accordingly (new laws and someone to supervise it).

    As a simple example, one of the areas I've had a lot to do with is internet access and filtering in schools. The only real answer is accountability, but it can be quite hard to get schools (well...ok mostly parents) to understand that, Christian or otherwise.

    When the world is moving further away from accountability, its no wonder we do as well.


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