Discipleship 101

by Tommy Rutledge
Every person on the planet produces and reproduces disciples. Really? Really.

Maybe you haven't thought about it quite like this before. Maybe you thought discipleship was only for expert theologians with distinguished degrees? Maybe you thought discipleship was a Church word for Church people, instead of a word for all people? Maybe this word evokes a range of negative emotion within you from your failed Church past? Maybe discipleship has become empty jargon, a term capitalized upon by religious websites to give the illusion of competence, movement, and progress?

Whichever place you find yourself, the fact remains. Every person is a disciple. Every person disciples. The very definition of life necessitates that reproduction is ongoing, present, and active. So the question for us at Soma Asheville is not whether or not we are making disciples, but what are we making disciples of? Or even better, of whom are we making disciples?

We believe answering this one simple question has the potential to unlock tremendous potential and reveal the most incredible life journey ahead. You may be wondering at this point, "Okay, I get you, so what's next? How do I know what I am making disciples of?"

To answer this one fundamental question, answer the following series of questions. Or have someone who knows you best answer for you (us humans tend to be a quite self-deceived race):
  • When you look at your life rhythms, what does your life orbit around?
  • What authorities gain your absolute trust and dependence?
  • Where does the majority of your attention and affection go?
  • What do you spend most of your free time thinking and talking about?
  • Where do you spend the majority of your money, including debt monies?
  • What person, object, career, goal, relationship, idea etc.… does your life rise and fall upon?

Have your answer yet? Now when we begin talking about discipleship in these categories, we are employing the language of worship. It may sound utterly despicable to admit ascribing worship to the answer you just named! (i.e. a political party, relationship, job, or worse yourself!) However, your answer reveals that this is precisely the case. How could I worship THAT you ask?

At Soma Asheville, we believe this soul diagnostic reveals the root cause to the deepest human plight in which we all share and participate. It affects everything. Nothing is left unscathed. Every culture created; every institution erected; every relationship formed; every ambition clouded. Depressing isn't it?

We all care for, create culture around, ascribe worship to, and thus make disciples of all sorts of persons, things, ideas that are not deserving of such a holy place in our lives. Yet we do it instinctively and uncontrollably without giving it a second thought. All of us have broken worship meters that constantly lead us down dead end paths.

But what if things could be different? What if another paradigm could reverse the cycle and place us on a path towards health and restoration?

We believe there is only person deserving of such a holy place, whether that be in our secular society and within the sacred society of our hearts; one person that has the proven record, the power, and capability to fix and restore all things in our lives. His name is Jesus.

Because Jesus is the only person who always did what was good, right, and perfect all the time, He earned the right to hold the highest office in the heart-land of our lives. Jesus was truly the expert on life who knew the family business of re-making and re-producing disciples better than anyone. This carpenter understood how to re-claim, re-use, and restore dead things and bring them back to life.

So what did Jesus reveal as the new object of worship? Himself. What would be the reproducing process? His own life, death, and resurrection. Really? Really.

Have you ever considered the claims Jesus made while He was journeying on the earth? Have you ever considered what it might mean to re-orient your life around this person?

As Soma Asheville embarked on the journey of being apprenticed under this carpenter, what slowly galvanized was a discipleship process. In this multi-part blog series entitled, Discipleship 101, we will discuss in more detail the specifics of this discipleship process and how it is restoring life in a small band of disciples.