We’ve all heard the popular saying, “reduce, reuse, recycle.” Now don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t consider myself a tree hugger and I’m definitely not going to corner you on the sidewalk with a petition like the Green Peace activists. But I’m sure many of y’all can agree with my preference for clean (and safe) beaches, both for us “smart” humans---who claim our trash just missed the waste basket---and dumb seagulls that don’t know the difference between fish and plastic.
However, there is another type of “recycling” which happens to be strongly discouraged for the sake of a healthy environment, and that’s the environment of disciple-making.
About a week or two ago, I read some articles Paul Worcester wrote about the essentials for healthy discipleship and one of the essentials that stood out to me was reproducibility. As followers of Christ, Worcester cautions us against the complacency of what he calls “dead-end discipleship.” This kind of discipleship is where Christians meet with other Christians to help each other improve their own faith but they don’t break out of their comfort cliques to evangelize and reach non-Christians. Worcester shared a quote from one of his friends who says, “Discipleship without evangelism is not discipleship. It’s actually recycle-ship.” Recycling and reusing the same old Christian relationships can reduce the growth and spread of the gospel, therefore preventing any more people from becoming part of God’s family.
If we as followers of Christ are to maintain a healthy disciple-making environment, we have to go beyond our circle of Christian friends, reach out to non-believers with the gospel and then bring them into the circle for equipping so they can in turn leave the circle to do the same thing. A healthy disciple-making environment is supposed to be reproducible, not recyclable.
To conclude this week’s post, I am going to share some tips that Worcester provided to ensure that our discipleship is reproducing more disciples and not recycling old ones. These are some practices that our CoMission staff apply on a regular basis throughout each semester on the USFSP campus and I think they can be easily applied by anyone anywhere, whether on the college campus or in the workplace.
These are only five of eight pointers that Worcester provided so if you’d like to know what the others are and/or you would like to read more in-depth about the vitality of reproducible discipleship, click here for the full article.
"And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also." - 2 Timothy 2:2