08:23 04May08 Sean Steckbeck -
Although I think George Barna makes some excellent points and happen to be
involved in his circles, you make some very good points here that have to be
discussed for the maturity of a last days revival. The harvest without
effective discipleship communties and base in place will sadly crumble. I love
what Paul said in 1 Cor 4:15: "You have many teachers, but not many fathers."
This is as true today as it always has been.
09:49 04May08 anonymous -
I really like your article re:discipleship. I would also like to add that true
transformation will only take place when there is true 'repentance'. It is sad
sometimes to see that the gospel has been adulterated meaning: those who
evangelize only teaches or preaches the blessings of becoming a believer but
left out on the area of repentance and so, people bring in all the 'baggage'
with them when they have not been told to repent.
10:45 04May08 John Glueck -
Another timely article by Dan... well written from his heart. At issue is
supernatural impartation received through intimacy with Yeshua; leading to
conviction, repentance and the newness of life common to all disciples.
10:54 04May08 Roy Weinberg -
We are failing to see transformational change in the lives of people because
too much of the modern church has enjoined itself to the world in compromise.
As such, many people attend church out of tradition rather than conviction and
seek entertainment rather than sanctification in Christ.
One important function of discipleship is to inform people that the world is
the domain of our spiritual enemy the devil. Our focus needs to be on seeking
Christ's kingdom and preparing to spend eternity with Christ in his kingdom
rather than using Christianity as just another means to build one's own heaven
in this fallen world.
16:21 04May08 anonymous -
Discipleship is the heart of Yeshua and every true believer must embrace being
a discipler and to be discipled. I like the fact that you mentioned about
Leaders who are not being discipled hence it is near imposible to disciple
others. Thank you for the word.
16:53 04May08 anonymous -
Dan, you mentioned that Christianity has had an anti-law orientation which is
destructive to discipleship. Shouldn't the church be made aware of this? They
will never see it as long as they hold onto the D-word, i.e. Dispensationalism.
It heavily permeates Christian theology. I've even seen Dispensationalism with
a mix of Replacement Theology in it. Nevertheless, most of the local churches
will continue its destructive heresies. I'm beginning to think more and more
that it will become apostate Christianity. Unless we heed the words of Yeshua
that Moses spoke of Him, they won't listen. Because they don't believe Moses'
words, they don't believe Messiah's word either. I think that is the problem
with Christianity and it's Torah-less gospel and Torah-less Christ.
-- Dr Juster replies:
This is very true. I consider classic dispensationalism to be actual
heresy because anti-nominianism was defined as heresy in the councils of
the churches. It is a devastating error. Thank God neo-dispensationalist
is reconsidering this, but there really needs to be repentance.
18:47 04May08 anonymous -
I appreciate the writing of this article and witness to its accuracy because of
my own experiences since I first became born-again. Personally, I have found
it difficult to find those seeking out others for the purpose of having the
richness of godly accountability in their lives. Here in America, we are very
independent and self-reliant, so busy doing many good things. However, missing
key ingredients and simplicity of a life abiding in HIS LOVE ... and from that
abiding relationship with our Lord and Savior ... having a sincere desire to
truly love one another ... and loving your neighbor. We have lost somehow, our
sense of community as a Body of believers in interpersonal relationships. But
I am not without hope, because there is a remnant searching for the deeper
relationships with the Lord and one another, who have a sincere desire to reach
out from within, outward to their communities and cities. Prayers are being
18:50 04May08 anonymous -
I think we confuse discipleship with coming under the law. How do you teach
discipleship except studying the bible, particularly Matthew and the things
Jesus taught. Why would not a bible study with discussion and attempt to do
what Jesus says, not be discipleship. I don't think I understand what you meant
by teaching discipleship.
-- Dr Juster replies:
What you are putting forth is part of discipleship. However, there are
other important dimensions. One is to find those areas of resistance or
difficulty in obedience and removing any traumas, patterns from family
life (to be recognized in repentance and forgiveness) and to be
instructed on how to access the power of God to not fall in difficult
situations. The disciple asks one who has overcome in the same area,
"How did you overcome that besetting problem?" Identifying with our
crucified and risen Lord is a key part of this.
20:06 04May08 Rev. Andrew C. Gosnell -
The problem with the Church today is that we view spiritual growth and
discipleship in terms of developing a kind of technique, reducing to the level
of programs and theory the dynamic work of the Holy Spirit. No wonder people
don't grow! This is ministry in the power of the flesh, which, of course, has
no power at all. A constant theme in Oswald Chambers' devotional, "My Utmost
for His Highest", is that of abandoning ourselves to God. The reason people
aren't being discipled properly is that most church leaders aren't dealing with
abandonment to God in their own lives. Therefore, they aren't honestly true
disciples, themselves! Abandoning ourselves to God means submitting ourselves
to the Holy Spirit. This means minimizing ourselves and our efforts/strategies,
and maximizing Him. The answer is simple: let the Holy Spirit have free rein
to reign over us, so that we may do His bidding in His way as He directs, when
He directs, and doing nothing unless and until He moves us. The whole of
Yeshua's life was like this. He did nothing without the Father's guidance.
His was a life utterly submitted to the Father. That is why He had the
fullness of the Holy Spirit. We aren't the ones to inspire conviction and zeal
in our people; the Holy Spirit is. Until God's people everywhere around the
world wake up to this fact, Christians will continue to muddle around in their
powerless jargon. May we discover Him afresh, so that His power may be made
perfect in our weakness!
23:39 04May08 Sue Blake -
You are so right ... how do I find people who want this? I am so tired of this
form of Religion.
-- Dr Juster replies:
Because I do not know where you live, I do not quite know how to answer
you. I would look up the Dove Churches in the United States and go from
03:06 05May08 Christiana Egwunye -
One of the main obstalces to discipleship in the western church, as rightly
mentioned by Dan is the lack of accountability. People in the western world are
not used to being accountable to anybody. Children are not accountable to
parents so everybody grows up "doing what seems right in their own eyes", so to
ask people who are not used to doing a particular thing to begin in their adult
life is an uphill task that requires the highest form of grace: exceeding
grace. Church is church only when it is relevant to the needs of the immediate
community and the society, otherwise it is just a place we come to socialise.
True discipleship is the only thing that will move church from the four walls
of a building out to where the people are: the market place for transformation
11:57 05May08 Daniel Buffenmeyer -
There always seems to be some kind of push to get back to that first century
church. There is an unspoken law among most Messianics that the first century
church is the only authentic one. However, could it be that the western church
is as equally saved by the atonement of Messiah despited the confusion and poor
response as disciples? In addition, it could very well be that those who
desire to become deeper disciples of Yeshua actually exclude themselves from
the larger body and begin to think they are of a higher standing because they
are "better disciples" than everyone else.
It's also interesting to note that the first century church still exists in one
form or another and is found in a variety of eastern orthodox churches. I
suppose we could even go so far as to include the Roman Catholic church as an
original. Sometimes western evangelicals fall into the trap of believing that
original Christianity begins with us, but how could it, we are removed from it
by both culture and many generations. Yet, as evangelicals, we feel as though
we have some right to the kingdom of heaven that those in the "original"
churches do not possess. If that is true, and God is willing to reject the
"original" churches to place his approval on a western fringe, then what is
keeping Him from rejecting that western fringe to show favor on some other
denomination. Lately I've been feeling that God must accept us all on our own
levels simply because we are so far below his enormity. In the end, it doesn't
matter how much of a disciple one tries to be, that cannot gain any merit at
all with the living God. I still think that we should try to improve our lives,
but continually beating ourselves up because we fail to be the first century
church seems to be counterproductive.
These are merely thoughts, and are not to be taken as negative or positive.
They are only some of my simple observations that I have made as I watch the
dialogue of modern day believers.
-- Dr Juster replies:
Thank you for your insightful comments. I do not think that one can
determine where discipleship takes place by the form of the churches.
God allows many different creative expressions in my view. The major
issue however is that mentoring and small groups have to be there for
effective disciple making. This has happened effectively in Orthodox and
Catholic monasteries and in Wesleyan Methodist Bands and in Navagators
groups and in Youth with a Mission discipleship training schools. It is
happening in the Chinese house church movement underground. However, the
West has entered into a period of superficial entertainment orientations
that simply will not disciple. Yes, I believe the first century church
discipled, but it is not my goal to reproduce first century culture.
12:09 05May08 Ruth -
Interesting point. I often get funny looks when I tell people being a
Christian is a LIFETIME commitment. That commitment is renewed each day. The
reading of scripture daily, helps that commitment and will affect the choices
I switched to a Messianic congregation because of the reading of Scripture. One
congregation I attended didn't have a Hebrew Torah (yet), they read whole
chapters in English for Torah service. Then I visit a relative's baptist
church. Only ONE VERSE was read in the entire service! Could this be why the
church is so immature?
12:56 05May08 Jim Bunch -
I remember a time when the fellowship I belong to actually practiced
discipleship. Then our emphasis shifted to church growth and growing
successful, mega churches. These churches were help up before the pastors as
examples of what all churches should be. Now, some thirty or forty years down
that path, we realize our mistake. Once again I see a call for a return to
discipleship. We must disciple believers after the NT pattern which includes
four basic doctrines: Salvation, the Baptism in the Holy Spirit, Divine
Healing, and the Second Coming of Christ. We must also 'make disciples'
(Christ's own words) - that does not occur by attending a sunday morning
service alone. Pastors must model, teach, and directly involve the laity in
doing the work of the minstry. It isn't enough to tell them. We must show
them hands-on experience in saving, healing, filling, and deliverance
ministry/work. Teach them to get 'their hands dirty' for Jesus in the real
work instead of training them in church business.
17:51 05May08 anonymous -
My husband and I desire to lead a discipleship home group in our congregation,
but there are no small groups which meet outside the actual building. This is
thwarting growth and accountability which happen best in small groups. There is
much we appreciate about this particular part of the Body, but this seems to be
a blind spot. How can we help move in this direction without being
insubordinate? At what point do we look for another place to plug in?
-- Dr Juster replies:
There are so many good written resources on this today, from Larry
Keider, of Dove Network and his books (From House to House) and Randy
Frazee, The Connecting Church and more. I suggest that you seed these
books into the leadership of the congregations.
18:50 05May08 Erik Carrillo -
This was an amazing teaching. Please continue to sound the call to
discipleship. Blow the horn so that others in Yeshua are propelled to change. I
myself struggle intently with individualism and need help becoming a disciple,
please pray that the Lord our God will give me a tender and soft heart to these
principals and no longer a hard heart. Thank you!
02:12 06May08 Susan Heagy -
Finally! A good solid answer of why the church in America, as well as
Messianic congregations in both the USA and Israel, are struggling with growth
in their members and as a whole.
As a director of a ministry serving Israel I appreciate the challenge to take
what the Lord has taught me about obedience and pass it on to others. Thank
you for a good Word from the Lord!
06:40 06May08 Dorothea Melnicoff -
Be wary of being the judge. God's ways are not our ways. That is also to say
that there is a significant place for accountability, edification, and
conviction, Trust in God to do it through His grace, mercy and love that He has
11:09 08May08 Pete Dean -
You use the term "commandments of Yeshua" quite a few times in this article?
How do you define these commandments and how can we incorporate them into our
-- Dr Juster replies:
Well, the simplest ways to understand this is wherever Yeshua commands
something in the imperative form. There are many such imperatives.
However, sometimes his teaching implies a command. Since Yeshua taught
us to to take the Torah seriously, and to teach these commandments, then
we have to apply them as fitting to the New Covenant order as well.
Since he chose authoritative apostles, it is implied that we obey their
commandments in Scripture as well.
15:13 08May08 Linda Schauer -
For 33 years I have been involved in the Messianic Jewish Movement. I grew up
in Orthodox Judaism with memberships in Reform and Conservative Synagogues as
well. This has been my experience with "Discipleship". Culturally speaking,
the Judao-Christian faith has dishonored women from the inception. Young girls
are taught that G-d, Hashem, is masculine and referred always as fully male.
Little if any reference to the feminine in word and preaching about G-d. So
being female and sitting in Synagogue and Evangelical churches for all these
years this is what I was taught. Women are inferior, abuse is acceptable, power
and control by Pastors and Rabbis in reference to submission is ok. Thus being
a female has been extremely painful. Fighting the male ego has almost moved me
to a non-faith position as a Believer. But, of course, the G-d that I have a
relationship with is none of the above. I do believe that Yeshua was the first
recorded feminist. So, in your desire to disciple, it is incumbant upon the
body of Messiah to review history and culture vs. the grace, love, and freedom
of our G-d in word and deed. Struggle my friends and struggle well as Jacob
did. Then you will have honored the greatest commandments of Messiah.
-- Dr Juster replies:
While I emphathize with your plight, I would urge you to look at the
broader picture. Barnard Lewis, the very famous professor and expert on
Islamic nations at Princeton, has written that Christianity has done the
most to elevate women. Lewis is a Jew, but says this because
Christianity enjoined monogamy. Previouly women really were like slaves
with men having multiple partners. In the Islamic world women are less
than human. I would add that it was not Chrisitianity, but Yeshua and
Messianic Judaism that brought this change. Though we believe in the
husband's role in leadership in the home and in the congregation, women
are to be specially honored. Peter says that if we do not treat our
wives well, our prayers will not be answered. In addition, the Bible
gives women very large ministry opportunities in preaching the gospel,
ministries of healing, counseling, evangelizing, and on infinitum. Yes,
treating women well is essential to discipling men and Ephesians 5 has
for years been put forth as our goal.
14:52 09May08 Dr. Jim Boswell -
Dan, this is a great article. Keep up sharing that what most of us has
practiced does not produce Kingdom results. I would not suggest that
traditional preaching and classes are wrong but just totally insufficient to
complete the work the Lord has given us.
After leaving the ministry for 11 years because great preaching, bible schools,
classes, youth groups and even house churches did not produce disciples that
obey the Lord, I finally started personally, intimately discipling a hand full
of individuals. Without a model to follow I made a lot of mistakes. But today,
I am pleased to see the growth, surrender and obedience to Christ in the ones
the Lord has given me.
-- Dr Juster replies:
We find that we eat, drink and even go to sleep thinking about
discipleship. I agree that the other things have value, but never as a
substitute for disciple making.
16:23 14May08 Rod -
Discipleship does take place in the format Barna suggested. We mentor, we
graduate and go out two by two. I would not return to a country club
environment again for anything. Small cells like ours are active, involved,
and responsible. We respect the authority placed in those who lead us, but no
wishy-washy lukewarm pew dusting sleepers. And no boards to place directives
on us that would dampen the work of the Holy Spirit. No Jezebels leading
worship, no hidden sins or agendas in the camp. Just a drive to be holy and
pure of heart, that we would be a bride spotless and without wrinkle, and
prepared for warfare, a concept totally lacking in the 'church'. And judgement
falls first on the house of the Lord.
15:40 11Feb09 Joseph Cole -
You mentioned that discipleship requires personal relational skills and a clear
curriculum focused through small group ministry. Which curriculum would you
23:29 05Jun14 Robby Hanes -
I have a sad but true testimony of what happened to me after I became a
Christian in 1988. First of all, when I became a Christian, I had no church
background and had no knowledge of the Bible. So after about 9 months of
attending church, I purchased my first Bible. Fortunately I had a background as
a personal trainer in bodybuilding and powerlifting so I knew how to live in a
methodical lifestyle. I designed a Bible study schedule and prayer schedule and
incorporated it into my life along with my weekly schedule of going to work and
working out at the gym. As I started to learn about God's word, I felt like I
needed more help in being a real disciple so I asked my pastor to put me on a
serious discipleship training program and he looked at me and turned around and
walked away without saying a word. However, he eventually did give me a
beginners course in basic discipleship which I gladly received but I felt like
the little booklet was one step removed from being a kid's book. The sad part
is that no one ever took me to the side and said or suggested that I should be
a disciple. I felt like I was all alone in the matter and that I had to train
myself in the principles of Christianity. As I said before, had I not had a
background in being a personal trainer, I don't think that I ever would have
become a disciple.
-- Dr Juster replies:
I wish I could say that your story is an exception, but my experience and
Barna's surveys tell me, that your experience is the norm today. There
is simply little in the way of serious discipleship today.
16:48 23Feb15 anonymous -
I think the real problem is that control freaks can no longer find
a way to make their outmoded command and control religion work.