Intentional Discipleship


The Bible is clear that God’s church is one body, with many members, called to build itself up in love, moving each other closer to mature manhood in Christ (Eph. 4:11-16). We don’t just want to see the lost come to Christ, but the bride to become more like Christ. Paul tells us that his desire is to “present everyone mature in Christ” (Colossians 1:28), and it is when each member is functioning properly that the body is built up in love (Eph. 4:16). The discipleship of others is not only a vital command of Christ to all who believe (Matt. 28:18), but also linked to the increase of the believers’ joy. Before Paul calls for the church in Philippi to be unified, he injects his plea with an interesting motivation, in Philippians 2:2, he says, “complete my joy” (Phil. 2:2). This shows that Paul’s joy is tied to the increased faith of the church of Philippi. When the apostle John writes to his “little children,” in 1 John 1:4, he says, “we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.” Because of this, we can infer that joy is, in one way, incomplete if the faith of the body of Christ is not increasing. Subsequently, joy will increase as we strive side by side with other believers to see their faith increase. The church will flourish as each member of the body is working properly, through intentional discipleship, to build itself up in love (Eph. 4:16). 

All avenues of church life should be built on discipleship, where each person is seeing their role and responsibility in building those around them up. These efforts are modeled first within leadership, and then spread throughout the body. Intentional Discipleship comes in various forms. It should be an integral aspect of the teaching and preaching in large group settings. Small group ministry also plays a vital role in this area. Whether in a Home Groups model, or a Sunday school model, the church should gather at some point in smaller groups for Bible study, sharing burdens, prayer, and fellowship, mirroring the early church who did the same (Acts 2:42-47). Growing in Christ happens not only through structured teaching, but also through learning from godly examples. Therefore, one-on-one discipleship should also be consistently pursued, in both formal and informal settings.