Two Faces of Discipleship in the 21st Century

As most of you know, discipleship is very important to me.  How a person grows in their faith in Christ has been a passion of mine for quite some time.  In this postmodern, post-Christian digital age, I think we have two primary avenues to develop in our faith as followers of Christ: Person-to-Person and Person-to-Content. 

Person-to-Person Discipleship involves at least two people, possibly more, who have a general knowledge of each other.  It is more relational and communal.  There is a human touch and presence that can be felt. 

Person-to-Person discipleship might include:
– Listening to your pastor preach on Sunday mornings
– Attending a small group on Tuesday nights
– Being in an accountability group
– Having a one-on-One mentor
– Attending retreats, events, conferences, workshops, seminars
– Going through biblical and pastoral counseling sessions

Person-to-Content Discipleship is more individualistic and less communal.  It is when a Christ followers seeks out content for their own personal growth without any direct contact with another person.  For the longest time, this was done through reading Bibles, books and literature, but now it comes mostly in digital form.

Person-to-Content discipleship might include:
– Reading a study Bible
– Reading Christian literature on a Kindle or eReader
– Listening to a sermon podcast from any pastor in the country
– Perusing a Christian e-zine on an iPad or iPhone app
– Attending a worship service online
– Listening to the Bible read on CD or podcast
– Reading blog posts by Christian writers
– Receiving daily email devotionals
– Using online Bible study tools such as biblestudytools.com, blueletterbible.com, or mybiblestudy.com
– Taking a Bible course through an online university or seminary

As the digital age offers us more and more options for Person-to-Content discipleship, the danger to become less communal and more isolated grows.  We must remember that no matter how many virtual options there are, we must have people walk with us and us with them in this Christian journey.  Going solo was never part of Jesus’ plan.

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