iFollow Discipleship Resource

Discipleship: Learning a New Language

by Dan Day, Director
NAD Church Resource Center
December 16, 2009


The language of discipleship is in some ways an unfamiliar one to many of us. We know how to discuss eschatology or theology, but the language of discipleship somehow eludes us. Learning the language of discipleship, means thinking about the elements that lie within its broad confines. So, what would this new language contain?

For one thing, discipleship means following Jesus. So, language about discipleship would depict the spiritual journey. We would talk about walking closely with Jesus, learning to cling to him in crisis, learning how to emulate His mercy and compassion. "Following Jesus language" would be relationship language, driven by hope.

Discipleship also means growing in Christ. So the language would doubtless contain some linear perspectives. We would find ourselves discussing how we become more successful in dealing with temptation, how we acquire increasing skill in pursuing spiritual disciplines, like prayer and Bible study. "Growing language" would also entail dynamics for recovering when we fail (or fall) and dealing with the ups and downs associated with that generally upward process.

Also, we need to remember that discipleship is not just a personal issue but also about making the church a nurturing environment.  We would begin thinking about how we connect with our communities to serve "the least of these." A "nurturing language" would encompass how our personal spiritual journey intersects with the mission of the church-and how we reach a secular world for Christ.

In the broadest sense, then, discipleship language would embrace all sides of church life: meeting Jesus for ourselves and our families, sharing Him with others, keeping the church vital and relevant, focused on ministry and mission. So, the language of discipleship must be broad and comprehensive, and yet very personal, too. The rest is yet to come...

Previous Articles

The iFollow Journey (Jul. 2, 2010)
The iFollow Discipleship Resource (Mar. 10, 2010)
Discipleship Elements: How to Become a Nurturing Community (Feb. 24, 2010)
Discipleship Elements: How to Grow in Christ (Jan. 28, 2010)
Discipleship Elements: How to Follow Jesus (Jan. 13, 2010)
iFollow: What It Is, and How to Use It (Jan. 1, 2010)
Discipleship: Learning a New Language (Dec. 16, 2009)
Discipleship: What Is It, and Why Should We Care? (Dec. 9, 2009)
Discipleship: Just About Being Spiritually "Buff"? (Nov. 18, 2009)
Discipleship: If We Saw It Would We Recognize It? (Nov. 6, 2009)