Discipleship is a process.
First you get people to repent and receive Christ, then to love Christ, then to grow in Christ, then to serve Christ, then the share Christ. At PCC we’ve been doing this for thirteen years.
Consider the method of Jesus. When He first called His disciples to leave their vocations and follow Him, He said, “Come and see.” That is the entry point for faith. Then over 3 ½ years of personal mentoring (discipleship) Jesus turns up the heat on His followers and redefines commitment. He starts saying things like, “You are my disciple if you love one another… if you bear fruit… if you take up your cross, deny yourself, and follow Me.”
When Jesus talked about His disciples ‘taking up a cross’ He was communicating to them the concept of ‘dying to self.’ A cross was an instrument of death – a method of execution used by the Romans. He was now telling them to “Come and die.”
There is a huge difference between “Come and See” and “Come and Die.” Jesus doesn’t say “come and die” at the very first. He takes three years to move them to that place.
This is exactly where many churches miss the point. They choose between one or the other. Some churches are “Come and See” churches; they bring in a lot of people through the front doors and win lost people to Christ, but do very little to deepen their faith to deeper levels of maturity. Other churches are “Come and Die” churches; they don’t reach anyone for Christ, but they just keep taking the same group of (frozen chosen) believers deeper, and deeper, and deeper, etc.
Healthy churches are those who have figured out how to balance both evangelism and discipleship.