Three levels of Discipleship

You may have not thought of it but there are three levels in discipleship. Each level increases the effectiveness and satisfaction. And who doesn’t want to have those two in our lives? Impact, fulfillment rise as we advance with each level.

Here’s the interesting thing, each level has less and less people attaining them. If it is more satisfying and fulfilling why is it that so? Some of this principle may be that we must increasingly focus less on us and more on others and more the Lord. Let’s unpack these levels to discover their benefits and their difficulties.

Level One: Disciple your SELF.  Here is where discipleship begins. We must work at it ourselves. I was surprised one time when I was starting out a small group. I handed out the curriculum, which would have us read five passages from the Bible a week. One of the guys said, “Great! Now I’ll read my Bible.” I would have guessed that he read regularly. But I was wrong. Most people don’t read their Bible. They don’t do level one discipleship or disciple your SELF. We work at it ourselves by practicing the spiritual disciplines, reading, praying, solitude, fasting. We propel our lives spiritually by participating in corporate worship, getting together with other believers and by serving with others. All these impact us. The Lord uses them to transform us. When we work at discipling ourselves we gain peace and joy. Ps 16:11. When we don’t do our part we experience so much less than the Lord desires for us. The good news is that Jesus is committed to discipling us and to transforming us. Phil 2:12-13.

Level Two: Disciple OTHERS.

The journey is always better when someone is with us. Even doing the dishes is way more fun when someone is there with us. As we grow and mature in Christ we are called to be a good steward of what we’ve been given. Do we share what we’ve learned spiritually with others? Or do we selfishly hold on to our spiritual treasures? This is why this next level is harder. We must get our focus off ourselves. Sometimes we aren’t selfish, life just happens. Life throws plenty of interesting dilemmas and painful experiences. Discipling others is also hard because we need a whole new set of skills. We need to know how to ask questions, how to share the Bible, how to be gracious, how to be wise, how to encourage. And to top it off, people don’t react just as we think they should. It is worth the effort. When we watch someone take new steps of faith, joy or love we find a satisfaction in life. We experience fulfillment and joy as we assist and love just as Jesus showed us. Recently I called a friend to tell him that a boy who he had years ago in Sunday school mentioned Skip as one of the people who profoundly impacted him spiritually. Think Skip had a good day? I had fun just telling him!

Level Three: Disciple GENERATIONS.

This is exponential spiritual living. This is big vision living. Discipling generationally means we leave a legacy well beyond us. This has been God’s vision for us throughout the Bible. Ps 78:1-8 speaks to impacting a generation yet unborn. 2 Tim 2:2 describes four generations of disciples. This level is much tougher. There must be an even greater excellence in the way we disciple to do this third level. We must master the ways of Jesus, so others will catch a new vision for their lives. The Navigators have modeled this principle from their inception in the 30’s. Dawson Trotman encouraged Les Spencer to reach his fellow sailors, even though Les asked him to come and teach. In a few weeks Les had found one man to disciple. Dawson became a spiritual grandfather that day.

This website will build on these three levels. What makes each go well. How do we become successful at each of these.