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How Are You Leading Students to Think about Discipleship?

How Are You Leading Students to Think about Discipleship?

I was reading an excerpt from Bonhoeffer’s Cost of Discipleship the other day. I was blown away by these straightforward words he used to talk about the life of discipleship. Check them out:
“Where will the call to discipleship lead those who follow it? What decisions and painful separations will it entail? We must take this question to him who alone knows the answer. Only Jesus Christ, who bids us follow him, knows where the path will lead. But we know that it will be a path full of mercy beyond measure. Discipleship is joy.”

I love this quote because it captures the true nature of discipleship.

If we're honest with ourselves, when we think of the concept “discipleship,” many of us are guilty of first thinking of programs. We hear “discipleship,” and we think of HOW.

“How do I make disciples in my ministry? We do X program, and X program, and we do X event,” and so on.

Now, this isn’t me knocking events or programs. They aren’t inherently wrong or bad. They are how we accomplish our goals in ministry. BUT, we have to break free from the “program-first” mindset of institutional discipleship. Bonhoeffer helps us do this.

Download a FREE sample today! An Ordinary Person's Guide to Discipling Teenagers

This little excerpt on discipleship is so good because it reminds us of that discipleship is more than merely collecting knowledge. It’s more than the practice of spiritual disciplines. It’s more than mere spiritual growth. It is all these things, of course. But Bonhoeffer reminds us that discipleship the answering of the call to follow Jesus as He leads us out into the world.

Discipleship is the active, relational, experiential journey of following Jesus in the manner and direction of His leading.

That’s what Bonhoeffer helps us see in this quote. Here we get a glimpse into what this discipleship journey looks like, what this life entails. There's pain. There's challenge. There's implied difficulty to come. And in the midst of that difficulty, there is mercy. In short, there is joy.

Today, spend time reflecting on this discipleship journey. Are you leading students (whether you mean to or not) to only think about discipleship in terms of the programs they are a part of or the events they've signed up for? Or are you actively helping position them as followers of the person and ways of Christ?

YM360 Co-founder and Publisher Andy Blanks takes this question deeper in our video blog below.


About The Author

Andy Blanks

Andy Blanks

Andy Blanks is the Publisher and Co-Founder of YM360 and Iron Hill Press. A former Marine, Andy has spent the last 17 years working in youth ministry, mostly in the field of publishing. During that time, Andy has led the development of some of the most-used Bible study curriculum and discipleship resources in the country. He has authored numerous books, Bible studies, and articles, and regularly speaks at events and conferences, both for adults and teenagers. Andy and his wife, Brendt, were married in 2000. They have four children: three girls and one boy.