If the church spent 10% as much time focused on true Jesus-style discipleship as it does on “leadership”, we wouldn’t be having the church leadership issues we are experiencing today. Badly discipled “leaders” don’t just badly disciple their followers, they leave a trail of broken people in the wake of their “ministry”.
Jesus-style discipleship does not take place from platforms or within classrooms.ⁱ It happens in lives lived together with laughter, love and, oddly enough, mutual submission. Demanded authority or domination are not remotely connected to true discipleship — they, like power & control, are simply symptoms of the fall. True disciplers are people who have laid down their need to be seen as leaders, to be the servants Jesus describes in Matthew 20:25. People who need or demand leadership titles rarely are able to be disciplers. Instead they cultivate the warped human desire for control over others.
In fact, we have warped Jesus teaching in the above mentioned passage by creating the oxymoronic “servant leadership” — with the focus on “leadership”. Servant becomes too easily a throwaway adjective, (much like we have down with the word “missional” which has been applied to so many different “programs” that it effectively has no meaning). Jesus uses “servant” as a noun in that passage. As we should. Or rather, as we must.
ⁱUPDATE: My friend and SPU Prof, Jeff Keuss says this via Twitter, “be careful with “always” “does” “does not” when it comes to how God works esp. w/ discipleship. God shows up in my classroom BTW”
Other thoughts on discipleship:
Moving from Undiscipled to Transformed — Imbi Medri-Kinnon