Is Mentoring the same thing as Discipleship? PT II

The last several days have seen my feelings about mentoring and discipleship change slightly. In PT 1 of this post I contended that mentoring and discipleship were two different things. Mostly I stated that because of how I see the church perceiving discipleship. In fact, I think the church misunderstands discipleship. So many churches view discipleship as the same as their small group ministry or mens group. Or, perhaps worse yet, view their membership classes as the same as discipleship.

This is woeful and should be stopped immediately. Jesus told us to make disciples, baptizing them in the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. True discipleship starts at the moment of conversion and goes on through much of life, certainly until the disciple is ready to work on his/her own.

I've been honestly so frustrated in the last several years at what I saw was a gross misrepresentation of what Christ wanted from Christians. People treat the word discipleship like it's a catch-phrase, not a way of life. It's so frustrating.

Thanks be to God and my loyal readers! I believe I understand better what it means to do both mentoring and discipleship. The bottom line is that, if the discipleship is true to nature and follows what God and the fathers suggested, then it is legitimate and the same as mentoring. In fact it's a better word to use. It only becomes an issue when churches misuse the concept of discipling that we need a new word (or rather a reconfigured word) to make things work.

Clear as mud? Good.


Stephanie Kay said...

I'm going to chime in here that I believe most churches DON'T disciple. I'm seeing a huge push within the SBC (both here and overseas) to evangelize and plant churches but not disciple or teach what the Bible says.

I'm going to step off my soapbox now before I write a blog post in your comments. I'll just say that on this point we agree. :)

The Navy Christian said...

You know, I have felt that way for a long time, and I've argued the point for a long time, but people seem to keep saying that churches and Christians do mentor/disciple. It's just not true, and I appreciate you for your comment.

The sad thing is that church planters should be thinking about discipleship because they should be making them, but it's more about converts than followers unfortunately.

Unknown said...

This is why I don't care much for organized religion. Man-made equates to trash in my mind. I think there's a verse or two in the Bible that supports that statement. Anyway, I agree with you that, based on my observations (which have been very limited mind you), yes, the Church does a horrible job of discipling and mentoring.

The Navy Christian said...

I didn't know that's how you felt about it. You've never suggested that there was a problem with organized religion before. We'll have to talk sometime about it.

boilt frog said...

"[T]he Church"? This means all. This is too extreme. You may mean many of those you know.

The gap between your definitions of mentoring and discipleship is narrowing.

What does Christ want from Christians? This is to goal of discipleship.