Discipleship In The Hood Series: Discipleship 101Posted: February 10, 2014
There are many definitions to the word discipleship, especially if you are familiar with many Christian ministries, organizations, and churches who teaches it. You cannot overlook the root words disciple and discipline found in the word discipleship. A disciple is one who follows closely the teachings of another. In the original movie “The Karate Kid” in 1984, the main star Daniel was constantly being bullied by trained high school karate students. Daniel runs into a karate instructor by the name of Mr. Miyagi, who trains him on how to defend himself by teaching him to do a lot of menial labor around his house like “wax on/ wax off” all Mr. Miyagi’s cars, “paint the fences”, “sand the floors”, etc. These peculiar motions of painting the fences, sanding the floors, and waxing on and off were the bedrock of Daniel’s defense in karate. Though Daniel was reluctant and complained much in this unconventional way of training, he “followed closely the teachings of Mr. Miyagi”. The picture of discipline is found in the repetitions of Daniel’s training. We put all this together and you get discipleship…the process of teaching all that Jesus commanded you (Matthew 28:18-20). The same way Mr. Miyagi “discipled Daniel, we as Christians are commanded to make disciples of Jesus Christ (discipleship). And to be a “Mr. Miyagi” in the hood, you can rest assured that it will be a rewarding but difficult challenge. All in all, discipleship in the hood is needed and necessary.
When you are able to train someone in the commands of Jesus with those in the hood, they will be fulfilling their God given purpose as humans, doing what we were all made for…bringing honor and glory to God. Instead of training in kicks, punches, and blocks, the process of discipleship would be men loving and sacrificing their lives for their wives and children, working hard for the glory of God at work, practicing self-control, praying for intimacy with God and interceding for others, and Scripture memory for resisting and confronting personal temptations, just to name a few. We all need to be trained in this.
The discipleship process is just that, a long process! It takes a lot of time to train others to do what Jesus commands. The more you practice the more you become consistent with what you’re being trained in…Christlikeness. You need an abundance of prayer, patience, and persistence if you want to see results in the discipleship process of individuals in the hood culture. If you are looking for people in the hood to be trained in the things of Christ in a few days, weeks, months, or even years, you are setting yourself up for enormous heartache, disappointment, frustration, and disillusionment (more in “Crockpot vs. Microwave”). Why should we expect consistent Christlikeness with those we’re training in the hood after 6 months when someone has been discipled in “hood culture” for 10, 20, 30, and even 40 years? Should you expect someone to be consistent in turning the other cheek from participating in a 4 week long bible study? What do you do when someone comes and picks a fight with you (agitator) and the code of the streets (discipleship in the hood) says ever since you were born you understood that you need to defend your honor at all costs?!?!? Just like we would not expect our children to speak English after coming out of the womb, it should be the same with those in the hood. If we are honest, we all need time to learn, process, and make mistakes in order for us to grow. The very things we are good at were coupled with lots of failures on our part.
Discipleship can be done in a variety of ways. These ways include a combination of formal and informal bible study meetings, worship gatherings, fellowship, life on life regular living and the like. The hood (and all of us) need all forms of discipleship! “Discipleship is needed in order to grow individuals in the hood from foolishness to wisdom”, says Carl Ellis. This is what is meant by the word discipleship, the process of teaching others what Christ has commanded us.
May the Lord give me and our church wisdom in making disciples in the hood.