Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Next Five Steps

Imagine that you have been mentoring a new disciple of Christ. He/she has heard the good news about Jesus, believed on and gladly confessed His Sonship before others, truly and deeply turned away from a life of sin, and has been immersed through the waters of baptism into a new, Spirit-drenched life.

Imagine that this person asks you, "What are the next five steps in following Jesus?"

What do you say?

5 comments:

Ray said...

Although I'm guessing you're playin' with this idea a bit, I can see how the question might come up in conversation.

My first response would be to say "There aren't five steps that apply to everyone in every cirucumstance." Supposing, however, the disciple asked the question with all sincerity, I might say, "It is an equal and opposite temptation to think there are no steps."

I might then list these five things:

1) RELATIONSHIPS: You must, of course, have a relationship with Christ. That goes without saying. But, since we are humans and prone to making mistakes, we must also encourage and nurture relationships with other believers. We have much to learn about Jesus from each other.

2) PRAYER AS A FORM OF COMMUNICATION: In order to nurture relationships with God and with people, we must talk to them. Prayer is how we talk to God. Each of us need to learn prayer. It is as much listening as speaking. (I might include worship under this head as well.)

3) OBEDIENCE/KEEPING: We must be willing to do what we say we believe. (I might use keeping here and talk about John 17:11-15 rather than the word obedience, depending on the disciple.)

4) ACCOUNTABILITY/PERSEVERANCE: Every disciple falls down. If we have understanding people around us to help us get back on our feet, so much the better.

5) PASSING IT ON: If this Jesus "thing" is so valuable, so important, so vital, it is required that we tell others about Him.

I don't have time to flesh these out more fully. Feel free to play around with these ideas.

believingthomas said...

I would tell them that any list is either too long or too short. :-)

Missy said...

I would have to say, "Whatever steps God lays down before you."

'Course Ray has laid out many of the common ones. I tried a 40-step approach when I first became a Christian and I wouldn't recommend it. ;)

john alan turner said...

Since this is a relationship and not a math equation, the answer to this can be difficult. Each relationship is unique and has its own way to developing over time. However, like any relationship, there are a few things everyone can do to improve the quality of the experience.

God has seen fit to grow people through some consistent practices. If asked for five specific things, I would say: (1) Give; (2) Serve; (3) Invest in people outside the Christian faith; (4) Get in a group with other believers; (5) Practice spiritual disciplines like prayer, Bible study, etc. in private.

Keith Brenton said...

At least a couple of folks have e-mailed me privately, suspecting a kind of April Fool's day prank on the eve of All Hallow's Eve, I think.

And there may be a bit of tongue pressed into cheek here.

Those of use who are older grew up being taught five steps. It's what we know. What happened to me last night during our LIFE Group discussion is that I suddenly realized we don't really have a clue what the next steps are, whether five or forty or forty-five thousand.

We don't have a system for that.

And when we try to disciple others, if I may coin a term, we largely dunk 'em and flunk 'em.

So I asked the question to challenge us - old, young, five-steppers, relationals, rationals, experientials, wanderers and pilgrims all. If there were five next steps in a walk with Jesus, what might they be?

You know, sometimes I ask questions because I really, truly don't know the answers.

I like the answers I'm seeing so far. I agree there is probably no one-size-fits-all system. There are likely some principles, nevertheless, that really need to be a part of a new follower's spiritual formation. Some would be in the top five for certain folks and others would be in the top five for different believers. Right?

So what are yours?

(And might it be worth our time to dig deeply into scripture in order to see how Jesus discipled the twelve; how Paul discipled Timothy; how Priscilla and Aquila discipled Apollos, etc.?)