The countdown is on to the 2015 d4 Discipleship Conference—June 25th in Cleveland, Ohio! “d4” stands for discipling to the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th generations. While it’s not so much about just a conference on discipleship, it is focused on catching Jesus’ vision for reproducing Himself in all of us, and thus, changing the world. These experiences, inside and outside of the conferences, have personally challenged me over the years through which I’ve experienced great growth as result, and still today. I’m forever grateful for those who have poured into my life and always welcome the opportunity to just share about this journey in progress.
As we approach this year’s gathering, I felt led to share some snippets from last year’s conference. Over the next few weeks, I pray that it will challenge you to go deeper, awaken you to the call, and bless you to live stronger, fruit bearing lives in Christ.
So what is discipleship? It’s a common buzzword in Christian circles today but is often very misunderstood. Discipleship is simply reproducing the character (who He is), ways (how He does), and mission (what He does) of Jesus, in ourselves, and in those around us. Being a disciple means living wholly and devotedly to Jesus, in every sense imaginable. While evangelism extends the invitation of salvation to the “lost”, discipleship teaches the “found” how to live this new life and reproduce it in others. I have to admit that discipleship, initially, and even for some time after, was not all that clear to me. Why is this important?
Discipleship is more than a program, conference, teaching or class—it is literally Jesus’ blueprint for changing the world for the better. With so many advances and movements in society and technology, there are an abundance of perspectives, attempts and agendas on how to impact the world. Discipleship gives us God’s way of doing that. What’s remarkable about discipleship, aside from opinion, is that it is our one true hope for the world because “it is the only thing that Jesus has authorized us to do” (Bill Hull). In His final words (on earth) to the disciples, He didn’t say to plant churches, hold worship conferences, crusades, etc.— He charged them and said, “go make disciples.” While those other things certainly have a place and purpose, they are not the goal.
Imagine, what kind of plumber, lawyer, athlete, CEO, etc. would Jesus be if He were still walking the earth? What would happen if each of us became a Jesus clone in our occupations, recreation, family, etc.? How would society look different?
“The Church exists for nothing else but to draw men into Christ, to make them little Christs. If they are not doing that, all the cathedrals, clergy, missions, sermons, even the Bible itself, are simply a waste of time. God became Man for no other purpose. It is even doubtful, you know, whether the whole universe was created for any other purpose.” – C.S. Lewis