After becoming a believer in the 1980s, I had been a pew warmer or a ‘consumer Christian’ in church for many years. I would go to church to see what I could get out of it. As I grew to know Christ, I came to understand that God wants me to be a disciple of Christ. I realised that I have been called to share my faith and tell people about Jesus and make disciples of all nations. For over twenty years now, I have become a ‘contributor’ instead of a consumer at my local church and outside of church, serving God in various areas.
Little did I know that I was to experience another mindset shift. In 2018, I attended my church retreat where Pastor Henson was the speaker. He shared briefly with us the Mentoring Aligning Process (MAP) and it stirred in me a desire to want to know more. At the Alignment WeekEnd (AWE2018), I was impressed in my heart that all saints are Archippuses, fellow soldiers of Christ called by the Lord and we need to be aligned to Christ our Commander and let Him assign us our kingdom assignments.
What hit me hard was that if we are doing anything and everything, we may not necessarily be doing what God has asked us to do. I was indeed very involved in church doing a lot of things and Pastor Henson’s sharing has awakened me to a major reorientation of some preconceived ideas of what kingdom assignment and discipleship is.
In early 2020, the desire to want to know more about MAP stirred in my heart again. I prayed to ask God to give me a confirmation and the confidence to give six months of my time by sending someone to come alongside to encourage me to join. Behold, a church member whom I did not share anything about my desire to join MAP checked with me if I wanted to do so with her. Without hesitation, I recognised that it was God’s confirmation to me to fulfil my heart desire to want to be on the MAP journey to help me to grow in discipleship.
What a journey it has been! My eyes were opened to see that Christian discipleship is more than a programme and cannot be reduced to attending an equipping course or going to church regularly and doing church activities. Many churchgoers sign up for a discipleship programme but not all have a change mindset thereafter. It was just another programme or course. One cannot presume that discipleship is taking place and that disciples are being raised. All of these may be just one aspect of the spiritual walk. And that’s a discipleship myth!
Discipleship is the spiritual walk. Going through this MAP journey clarified for me it is not enough to know that discipleship is important or to acknowledge I am a disciple of Jesus Christ. I need to renew my mind to be rightly aligned with Jesus my Master and my King. Discipleship is based on relationships and relationships require time. I was spurred to walk as a kingdom follower and build my relationship with my King. To do that, I resolve to submit to His rule and reign and let Him refine and reveal my misalignment. Telling myself that I am no longer on my own but I now belong to Christ, I am leaning on Jesus more and more daily.
Henson writes in Alignment Check, “When we promote discipleship as a programme or ministry, we encourage the mindset of call and choice again…This mindset deceives (yes, deceives!) us into the wrong thinking that if I attend church faithfully, do Quiet Time regularly, memorise Scriptures and attend bible study, I am a disciple. Wrong! You are a disciple, that’s why you do all these things.”
Don’t get it upside down. We must be duly cautioned that we can study all about discipleship and not be a disciple. Discipleship is not something we do. It’s who we are as disciples that determines what we do.
Sally is married to Christopher and they have two lovely daughters. She has been serving as a prison counsellor since 2005, sharing God’s word, counselling and praying for the inmates to be restored and transformed.