Apples of Gold
Radio Script for March 31, 2008
“Are You In a Discipleship Class?”
Hello, I’m Doug Apple…with Apples of Gold.
In the fall of 1984 my girlfriend and I returned to campus as baby Christians.
Since we didn’t know what we were doing, it must have been the Lord that led us to the Christian Campus Fellowship (CCF).
The minister there, Roger Songer, offered a beginner’s discipleship class, and we took it. That class played a critical role in our Christian development.
We learned the fundamentals of the faith. We memorized Scriptures. We went through a workbook that sent us to the Bible for answers. And CCF provided a safe place for young Christians to test their wings.
I didn’t appreciate it so much then, because I figured it’s what all new Christians did.
But now I see that’s not the case. Over the years I have seen many people become Christians, but then get no formalized discipleship. Oh, they go to church, but that’s not the same. They read the Bible, but that’s not the same.
There is no substitute for good old fashioned discipleship. And by that I mean an organized program led by a mature Christian who is a good teacher.
This is very important for baby Christians. Just like an infant needs more care, so does an infant Christian.
It goes back to the Great Commission. In Matthew 28 Jesus said, “…go and make disciples of all nations…” Then He added: “…teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you…”
When we think of the Great Commission we think of evangelism. Evangelizing someone happens in a moment. But discipling someone happens for the rest of their life.
Jesus said to teach people to obey everything He commanded. When are we done with that? I don’t think we are ever done with that.
Let me ask you this. Does your church offer a discipleship course for new Christians? If not, you need to get one started. It’s one of the most important things you can do to fulfill the Great Commission.
Then what comes after that? Does your church offer any sort of organized discipleship beyond the class for beginners?
This is where good old fashioned Sunday School comes in. Sunday School is a great way to offer discipleship, and to organize it by levels of spiritual maturity. Some denominations offer excellent course material designed to lead people through the entire Bible.
I know some churches have gotten away from Sunday School, and of course Sunday School isn’t in the Bible, but discipleship is. It’s not so important how we disciple, but that we disciple.
Some churches now just offer worship services: services for the adults, services for the teenagers, services for the kids. That’s fine, but it does not replace discipleship classes.
We all need Bible teaching with discussion, where we are free to ask questions, to clarify, and get help living it out. Good discipleship classes include Bible memorization and take-home assignments for deeper study. It offers group support and accountability. Class members get to know each other and pray for each other and look out for each other.
Now I can hear some church leaders saying, “I just don’t have time to organize discipleship classes.” No, you may not. You can’t do everything, but it still must be done, so take the advice of Second Timothy 2:2. Paul told Timothy to find some good teachers to help him out.
Now let me take this to a personal level. What are you doing about your own discipleship? Even if your church doesn’t offer classes, you still need organized Christian education.
There are many options. For example, in Tallahassee we have the Center for Biblical Studies. Look around in your area for a good Bible college. With the internet you can enroll in Bible classes all over the country. Ask your pastor for a good one.
Last summer my wife went through an in-depth study of the book of Daniel with coworkers. I hear about people doing lunch-hour Bible studies at various government offices in the city. I know people who get together in their homes just to help each other grow in the Lord.
It’s all about discipleship, and it’s a never ending process.
So what about you today? Are you involved in organized discipleship? I can’t overstress the importance. We all need it to grow spiritually. And as we mature, we must go back and disciple others.
And you know, it’s not an option.
It’s the Great Commission.
E-mail me: firstname.lastname@example.org.
May God bless you today! With Apples of Gold…I’m Doug Apple.
© 2008 The Arrow’s Tip
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(Proverbs 25:11 – “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.”)
Why “The Arrow’s Tip”? Each morning, after diligently seeking the Lord, I write Apples of Gold. Then before I release it to the public I pray one final prayer, “Lord, send forth your arrows.” I envision Apples of Gold as arrows, tips dipped in the river of the water of life that flows from the throne of God (Rev. 22:1), sailing toward the hearts and minds of men and women around the world.
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