21st Century disciplemaking, from “Embodying Our Faith”

Making disciples was not just the task of Jesus; it is and always has been the continued task of His church. We are to not only lead people to a saving knowledge of Jesus, but instruct them in the next steps and beyond.

Tim Morey describes the task of disciplemaking in the 21st century. In the 20th century approach to evangelism, discipleship was considered a separate task. There were challenges to this. “If the discipleship process does not begin right away, we risk seeing the new believer slip back into his or her former life and never become an active participant in the church.” [1]

Morey said the reason for this is often rooted in the evangelism itself. “Conversion is often treated as an event and less as a process…it is especially important with the postmodern generations to allow conversion to be a process.”[2] Postmoderns need to know what the Christian faith is all about first. Many from generations X and Y have not been raised in a church setting like the Baby Boomers and previous generations and therefore lack some of the fundamental understandings of the faith. Some hear a self-centered Christianity through evangelism (this is what the Lord will do for you) but lack hearing about the challenges of living out the Christian faith. In Morey’s model, “Those investigating the faith are invited into and embraced by the community of faith, allowing them to discover faith ‘from the inside,’ rather than having to make up their minds before really experiencing what the Christian life is like.”[3]

With this model, the skepticism and unfamiliarity of the Christian faith has time to develop into trust and understanding; and potential believers are not pressured to make a commitment during a first encounter. But turning skepticism into trust requires us believers to make a personal investment into evangelism and discipleship.

This leads to the last elements of Morey’s 21st century approach. First, we must pray and be attentive to what God is doing; and we must be willing to act.

This gets to the heart of the embodied apologetic we are discussing: as others experience God in our midst, see the quality of love lived out in our community and see the practical enacting of our faith bringing good to the surrounding world, our faith becomes more real to them. [4]

As Morey states, faithful prayer and careful action have broken up the soil. Now, speak the truth in love (Eph. 4:15). That will help the new believer grow, or the soon-to-be believer take the next step toward a commitment.

[1] Tim Morey, Embodying Our Faith: Becoming a Living, Sharing, Practicing Church (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Books), 84-85.

[2] Ibid. 85.

[3] Ibid. 88.

[4] Ibid. 98.

4 thoughts on “21st Century disciplemaking, from “Embodying Our Faith”

  1. Pingback: Before we disciple, we must be a disciple, from “Embodying Our Faith” | A Closer Look

  2. Pingback: Loving one another as an apologetic | A Closer Look

  3. Pingback: Compassion as an apologetic | A Closer Look

  4. Pingback: Missional Disciplemaking – Apprenticeship | MennoNerds

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