Today’s post from Jonathan Pearson is part of the blog series Discipleship: Re-Imagining Our Calling From Christ. To receive future posts from the series in your inbox head HERE. Engage with the writers and community of readers using the hashtag #DiscipleshipBlog.
As a child, I wanted to be just like my Dad. Like many of us who were blessed to have a supportive and loving earthly Father, my days as a child revolved around trying to be like Dad. I’d watch his every move and be around him every time he turned around. I’d notice his jeans and want my jeans to look just like his. I’d notice how he held his fork and try to do mine the same. I’d even see how he walked around the house and try to immolate his walk.
Then, I got a little older. I’m not sure there was an obvious breaking point, but at some point in life, I stopped trying to be just like my Dad. At some point in life, I stopped being like Dad and started being the young man that I wanted to be. I still loved my Father. The two of us would still hang out, but I didn’t try to do things the exact same way he did. It became more about the principles and ideas that Dad taught me that made me like him, not the way I did each individual thing in life.
As the Church, I think we forget that we are to make disciples. We usually fall on two different sides in the disciple making paradigm. We either pray a prayer with people and leave them to fend for themselves, or we pray a prayer with them and teach them to be just like us. The result is that the Church is left with a lot of undiscipled people and clones of other Christians.
We have to get back to discipling the way Jesus did. We walk with the people that God points out to us. We live life in front of them. We walk with them. We talk to them. We correct them. We love them. We teach them. We empower them.
Sure, for a little while they may be like I was when I was a child and try to copy everything we do. Eventually, though, we want them to know the principles that we teach them, not the exact habits. We want them to live out their faith in Christ in the way God created them to do it.
Don’t train up people to be just like you…train them to be like Jesus. Help people be them, living out the Gospel in their everyday lives. They don’t live your life. They don’t need to. Teach them to live theirs.
Jonathan Pearson is a millennial determined to leave the world in better shape than he found it. He is the Orangeburg Campus Pastor at Cornerstone Community Church and Assistant Director of The Sticks, an organization that empowers small town leaders. Jonathan is also the co-creator of MillennialLeader.com. He is married to Melissa and the two live in Orangeburg, S.C. Find Jonathan online at JonP.me.