First a baby is spoon fed by their parents, then they learn to feed themselves, then the earn a living and start feeding their family and finally they look at how they can feed the world.
becoming stronger in faith and taking responsibility into our own hands for learning (just like learning a foreign language).
[I should probably note that it is of course the Holy spirit that actually transforms us into being more Christlike. Discipleship is simply putting ourselves in the position where the spirit can transform us.]
So what stages do people go through during discipleship?
Walking away from God.
This is the first stage. We are aliens, enemies, fighting and walking away from God.
Wrestling with God
people have heard the gospel and they wrestle with it, with God’s voice calling them. With the demand to pick up their cross and follow him. To die so they can live.
The first steps of faith, just like a baby the disciple learns so much during this time, makes mistakes, and needs a guide to help them along the way. Experienced Christians who can provide a solid foundation for them are vital to avoid the three possible negative outcomes of the parable of the sower.
Taking more responsibility for their faith
This is the point where the believe starts to have a solid enough base that they can read the bible and draw upon what they have heard before, they know where to turn during periods of doubt, they start to take responsibility for their own faith. Sure they will still speak to other christians for advice, help and guidance but they choose to do it and know they need to.
This is different from calling others to follow, that can happen straight away and probably SHOULD happen straight away. Instead it is having enough grounding that they can lead others, guide others and help them to grow from their baby steps to a fully developed Christian.
Feeding the world
Not only helping others to ascend the pyramid of discipleship, being responsible for their own growth but also reaching out to people across the world. Looking to help global mission, to bring God’s kingdom in to the lives of not just those in your immediate proximity but also those who are further away from you.
This echos Jesus command ”in Jerusalem, Judea and to the ends of the earth.” those closest to you and then moving out.
Obviously some elements can start sooner rather than later. For example there is no reason why a new Christian couldn’t give money to a mission organisation or join in with a mission team (in fact they should) but leading a mission organisation would be difficult and dangerous for someone without that grounding.
There are always exceptions who jump up the ladder very quickly but there are some pretty solid principles. If you can’t feed yourself then how can you feed someone else?
What do you think? Would you add in any other stages?
P.s. I want to include links to bible passages for each of the ideas above but primarily wanted to publish the post. If you can think of any good verses then post them in the comments bellow and I’ll link them up.