David and I were standing on the sidewalk after church. He was a growing leader in the church who was passionate about his faith. He shared his desire to stand in front of the church and preach, but confessed that he wasn't very good at speaking. The thought of it turned his stomach. I asked him why he wanted to preach.
"That's what really mature Christians do, isn't it?"
When Jesus left the earth he told his followers to go and "make disciples." Discipleship is an essential part of God's plan for the church and the world. But like David, we often limit discipleship in our minds or in our practice. It can become just preaching. Just teaching, or evangelizing, or "doing justice," or whatever your church's ministry emphasis is. And this leads us to the crux of our problem: our conception of discipleship is often so unclear it's difficult to know if we're succeeding in Christ's mandate.
As pastors, we know that making ...1