Discipleship: It's worse than I thought

Posted by Aaron Keyes on 10 June 2014

Last time I called worship leaders to make disciples of younger worship leaders. Since then I've met with several worship leaders from around the world who all share a common passion for successfully passing the baton to the next generation, but the landscape is much more desolate than I'd imagined, and the state of discipleship among us is much, much worse than I'd thought.

Have you noticed that every church seems to be looking for a worship leader? Pastors broadcast their sermons all around town but it's hard to reproduce live worship leading via cameras and screens. So guess what's going to become the hot new topic: raising up worship leaders.

This will be a great thing if it means discipleship moves front and center on the job descriptions of worship leaders around the world. It will be a great thing if worship pastors in their 30's, 40's, and 50's begin pouring their lives into younger worship leaders in their teens, 20's, and 30's. 

But this could also be a bad thing. If we skimp on actual discipleship, if we balk on intentionally opening up our lives and rely instead on teaching some curriculum, it could be bad. If we mistake education for discipleship we’ll see bitter results. Jesus sent out disciples he loved, not crowds he taught.

Education is a part of discipleship - after all, if you're going to do what I do, you need to know what I know - but it is not the sum total of discipleship. It's the beginning, but discipleship has to move from information to imitation. (For more on this, see Mike Breen and 3DM) Jesus didn't disciple the 5,000. He taught them. He discipled just twelve, offering more than teaching: mentoring, loving, really investing into their lives and letting them into His own.

Almost every single initiative being launched, every school being started, every plan being proposed - that I'm aware of - has only to do with education, and little or nothing to do with imitation.

But discipleship doesn't even end at imitation. The goal isn't for people to remain an imitation; the goal is for them to be released to imagination. It's not cloning, it's multiplying.  

It's like my kids. I'm one man, but I've got four sons. They carry my DNA, but then they're different as well. They don't look exactly like me, they don't act exactly like me. Ultimately my dream for my sons isn't that they'd become exactly like me. It's that they'll become who God's made them to be, and carry what God's given me to new levels of exponential increase in their own lives.

In 1 Corinthians 4:15 Paul says, ‘Even if you had ten thousand teachers, you do not have many fathers.’  There's a difference between a teacher and a father. This has to become our posture towards the next generation worship leader. Not only that they learn the skills and recite the passages, but carry our values, our convictions, and our anointing with great and exponential increase over the length of their lives. If our discipleship doesn't result in the next generation doing ‘greater things’ than we ourselves, we haven't hit the target set by Jesus.  

May God help us.

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