If you want to do discipleship well, what does it take? If you are responsible for the care of souls, what are the requirements of that task? What does genuine discipleship and soul care look like? Here is my list of the 4 “C’s” of Discipleship.
In order to disciple well, in order to care for the souls in your group or church requires courage. Why? Because at some point, you will have to confront. Not many of us like to confront. Part of that probably has a lot to do with the fact we don’t do it well. The other part of it is that we think confrontation is always negative. The Bible has a word, that we don’t often use, for the type of confrontation that we as believers and disciples are supposed to do for each other: exhortation. Hebrews 3:13 says:
But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.
To exhort one another involves both the concepts of encouragement and rebuke. This is how we are called to confront. At times we all need to be encouraged while at other times we need to be rebuked. To disciple well and truly care for souls requires a mixture of both.
Exhortation protects from sin.
If our desire is to grow and mature as disciples we must have a working comprehension of the truth. This is what some refer to as practical theology. It’s one thing to be able to define theological concepts; it’s a whole different thing to be able to practically apply them to your situation and the situation of others. It must be personally known, personally experienced, and be personally lived out before that comprehension of the truth can be useful with others. Without personal experience, it’s doesn’t translate to practical. Believers are called to:
… speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ. (Ephesians 4:15).
Comprehension leads to our maturity.
Discipleship and soul care take courage and comprehension, it also takes consistency. Those souls you are caring for and discipling need to be gathered on a regular basis. Hebrews 10:25 reminds of not only our need to meet together, but also why it’s important:
not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day draw near.
Consistency is needed because encouragement is needed.
Along with courage, comprehension, and consistency, we must add commitment. We need to be committed to the process as well as the people. Why? Because that’s how we demonstrate love. Hebrews 10:23 says:
And let us consider how to spur one another to love and good works
It’s out of love that we are to be committed to one another. This commitment is born out of the desire to be like Jesus and serve one another.
Commitment shows love.
There are other requirements of discipleship and soul care to be sure. The willingness to be vulnerable, the desire to go beyond the surface and into the depths, just to name a few. What would you add to this list (… and no it doesn’t need to start with the letter C … but it would help)?