Discipleship Is Impartation, Not a Transfer of Information

IMG_2228I just got back from another Quest event and continue to see the value and benefit of relational discipleship. Where discipleship has all too often been interpreted as curriculum, information or programs, the heart of “come with me” is lost. Jesus invited 12 guys to walk with Him for three years, not enroll in a course.

Over the years, I’ve been invited and now invite others to come with me. The times where I serve on a Quest, speak at an event or just hang out for lunch or a cup of coffee I try to have men with me that are in a pursuit which is similar to mine. There is a mutual benefit in these types of relationship as discipleship and friendship overlap.

This is what was offered to me and I am attempting to offer it to others. When I was invited, however, the burden shifted. The invitation put the ball in my court and it was up to me to make time and prioritize the opportunity. If other things prevented involvement, there’s no guilt, shame or condemnation and, at the same time, there’s no real discipleship. The burden of discipleship rests in the priorities of the disciple.

One of the reasons Quest has been a valuable component to my experience as a disciple as well as a disciple maker is the raw and real unfolding of things that otherwise might take years. The intense focus of a 6 day journey together creates unique experiences that can be learned from and impartation can occur. Impartation is the goal of discipleship, whereas information is the cheap substitute.

In those life on life moments that can only occur where there is proximity and relationship, things can be called out, set in motion and affirmed. In those common experiences, there is a gradual but real process that works from within us. It takes time and premature promotion comes at the cost of character development.

When I was invited, it was modeled and I got to watch. Then, in time, my voice was increasingly trusted and I got to step out. From that real-time experience which was shoulder to shoulder, I received correction, affirmation and encouragement. With increased experience, there was decreased feedback and increased release. Then, after a season of experience, input, trust and release, I was on my own and I was ready for it. The “stuff” had gotten in me, more than I had simply grasped the information.

Quest is a great laboratory as staff comes back to serve and develop. The process is propelled beyond other “average” six-day periods. Quest, however, isn’t about a trip to a ranch and neither is discipleship. It’s day-to-day, week to week and year to year. It takes time and intentionality that permeates our life so one life can be invested in another.

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