Discipleship Distraction

Discipleship DistractionSorry About The Image!

Distracting, isn’t it?

We take disciple making (Discipleship) pretty serious here in the Cloud Forest Region of Ecuador. I’d like to take credit for how well things have gone this past year as we have seen many come to know the Lord, but the truth is, I can’t. We’re all just paying attention to the calls and commissions in our lives. In fact, that’s what this post is about. Paying attention… or the lack thereof.

In a small town called “Dystra” (fictional name), I can remember when the gospel was first spoken there. The level of interest was nothing less than phenomenal. We talked with people, laughed with them, cried with them, played, and prayed. There was intensity in their attention. We would go to Dystra weekly and sometimes in-between. They welcomed us into their homes and they were welcome in ours. On Thursdays, we would break up into groups and have small fellowships and discipleship. We invested ourselves in their lives and saw many powerful examples of transformation.

Then it started happening. As we would go and do our “Normal Weekly Thing,” one particular subgroup in Dystra became very distracted. There seemed to be a long stretch of weeks where there was always something else going on. At our scheduled time of meeting, this particular sub-group began arriving later and not putting their energy into paying attention, and becoming spiritually fidgety. Now, I have to confess that my first thought when this started happening was, “Fine! If you guys aren’t interested in THE WORD OF GOD, then I’ll GO FIND SOMEONE ELSE WHO’S HUNGRY FOR IT AND GO THERE!” The thought never manifested itself in words, but ultimately it did in action.

I could expound the reasons why this particular group became distracted, but it would not serve the main purpose of this post. It could simply be because I, and my associates are extremely boring people. Oddly enough, the “other” groups in Dystra began to grow. Especially where we as disciplers, did not have expectations. This has been a tremendous year of ministry in the region and we have seen the Kingdom of God expand in a markedly Super-Nautral way. What we have also seen is that other sub-groups like the one in Dystra have or are going through a similar distraction phase.

When it happens, we go through the same cycle as disciplers. We ask ourselves if we’re doing wrong, if our gospel message is complete and correct, if we should be taking it personally, if our attitudes are innapropriate, and sometimes we simply need to drift away from the drifters. And so, I’m putting our experiences out there for you, the reader, with a few questions:

1. What, in your opinion, is the root cause for being distracted in fellowship?

2. If someone is no longer interested in the things of God, should we just move on to those who are? Why or Why Not?

3. What steps have you taken in your gatherings and fellowship to solve the distraction/boredom problem?

For related posts, see:

Discipleship Degradation

Discipleship Detachment

0 thoughts on “Discipleship Distraction

  1. Luke 8:11-15 gives three clear reasons for distraction. 1. The devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts (wrong focus). 2. They have no root and fall away by being tested (wrong responses), 3. Life’s worries, riches and pleasures choke out the word (wrong priorities). Should we just move on? Yes. 2 Timothy 2:2 gives a clear qualification of a disciple, faithful. To pursue people who are not faithful is poor stewardship of our time and emotional energy. Actually, this clear Biblical direction relieves us of the responsibility of deciding who is faithful and places it upon the obedience of the potential disciple, where it belongs. Note: I always leave the door open to discipleship just in case the issue is not disobedience but timing. Jesus did not run after the rich young ruler when he decided his wealth was more important than obedience.

    • Peter says:

      I agree with Geoffrey, that the distractions are of the enemy and his evil world system. But, I strongly disagree with just moving on. Should we abandon a brother or sister because they have become ensnared by the evil one? Who hasn’t become distracted at some point?

      Christ is the cure for every distraction. You must keep praying and ministering Christ to them. They are children who need to be nourished, nurtured, and instructed by the divine Life within you and within them.

      I don’t like to give up on people. I may step back and wait for God’s timing, depending on their reaction. But, always keep praying for them. Pray also for yourselves, always walking in the Spirit, so that you know God’s desire.

      “If anyone sees his brother committing a sin not leading to death, he shall ask and God will for him give life…” – 1 John 5:16

  2. I agree Peter with the need for compassion, thus my comment about “leaving the door open.” However, there is a danger of enablement masked by “ministry.” I have a friend who used my effort to nourish, nurture and instruct, for his benefit, for years. with no intention of obedience. He looked me in the eye, used all the spiritual terminology he thought I wanted to hear, and lied to me repeatedly. I asked God to give him life and I still have faith that he will, but my friends drug of choice was more important to him than obedience at the time. I still love him and keep the door open to a discipleship relationship but I no longer invest inordinate amounts of time with him that might be spent with the many people in my life who are ready to follow Jesus and have no one to lead them. To me, it’s about the stewardship of time. Sometimes, tough love is needed.

  3. Kat says:

    What, in your opinion, is the root cause for being distracted in fellowship?

    Lack of Christ as our Life, and thus, lack of His expression throughout all the members of the body. Basically, lack of Christ. This is usually due to things taking the place of Christ Himself, often it is those things that are thought of as “good” things and “good” its. Things and its get boring after awhile.

    If someone is no longer interested in the things of God, should we just move on to those who are? Why or Why Not?

    No! It is rather hard to answer such questions when a person is not there to see what is actually going on. Could there be something wrong? What were they hungry for? Could it be that they want Him more than His things? Attending a Bible study and/or intellectual type classes or such things would get old very quickly. Those things are just not enough, they are not Life. Maybe they long for Life Himself actively among them, and they grow stale because they cannot fully and freely hear Him through one another when they gather as a whole body. There could a hidden leader or controller type person in the body there that perhaps could be hindering Christ’s expression and Life. A person can do this without always being obvious about it. That kills even the strongest passion. If they had intensity in their “attention,” then I need ask what had their attention, attention on what or who? Are you talking about their relationship with Him and expressing Him and living Him together? I’m unsure what you mean. Maybe if you could somehow listen in to one of their gatherings without taking an active part, just sitting back and quieting observing, you might see the hindrance that is taking place there.

    What steps have you taken in your gatherings and fellowship to solve the distraction/boredom problem?

    I haven’t seen boredom yet. When one of us seems distracted, the expression of Christ through everyone usually takes care of that, it takes the whole body to reveal Him. He continues to blow our minds with Himself.

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