The moment a student arrives on a college campus, they are confronted with many opportunities to get involved. There are organizations that want your participation. There are churches that want you to be a part of their fellowship. There are classes that demand your attention and your time. Sometimes it is overwhelming.
All of these opportunities will require significant time investment. There are meetings to attend, homework to do, life groups to attend, and on and on. If we are not careful, we can find ourselves going and going, getting less and less sleep, and experiencing exhaustion. Somewhere along the way we realized that all of these commitments made us too busy for God, and He was left out of our lives. It is not that we were doing bad things, we just left out the most important thing – that is, spending time with God and becoming a disciple of Jesus Christ.
The definition of a disciple is a learner or follower. A disciple of Jesus is a lifelong learning process. We cannot take a break just because we are too busy. Becoming a lifelong learner and having a consistent relationship with Jesus Christ should be a priority. It should be a priority because Jesus commanded his followers to “go” and “make” disciples, but you must be a disciple before you can make disciples. Making disciples is known as discipleship. Discipleship is what a disciple does. Discipleship is God’s top priority because Jesus practiced it and commanded us to do it. Jesus told us to be disciples and to make disciples. Dietrich Bonhoeffer says, “Christianity without the living Christ is Christianity without discipleship and Christianity without discipleship is always Christianity without Christ.” In my own life I have learned that discipleship has to be intentional. It won’t just happen; I have to make it happen. This means time with Jesus each day is absolutely necessary. I have also learned that you cannot make disciples without having relationships. Without relationships with other people, you cannot possibly make disciples.
It is not possible for Christians to grow spiritually without making disciples. I call this “spiritual reproduction.” Without it, Christianity cannot flourish. For the past nine years, I have led UMHB students on a mission trip to England. Why England? Because the country of England is in spiritual darkness. What happened? Most people think of England as a Christian nation. If you look back 100 years, you would find large churches with thousands of people listening to some of the best preachers in the world. They were enjoying great teaching and preaching, but along the way the emphasis on “making disciples” was not taught. The result of that omission is that today large church buildings are virtually empty and are being sold for other uses. Spiritual reproduction did not happen. We go to England to start a movement toward intentional discipleship.
What was not taught in England and what is not being taught to believers in our culture is that discipleship is not a program or an event; it is a way of life. It is a choice. My challenge to you and to me is not to get so busy in achieving God’s approval by doing activities that we forget the message of Jesus which is to “go” and “make” disciples. Bill Hull says, “A commitment to be and make disciples must be the central focus of every Christian and every church.”
What are you going to do?Are you looking for a college where you can grow spiritually by living a life of discipleship? The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor seeks to develop graduates who integrate Christian perspectives and attitudes into every dimension of life. For more information, we invite you to visit our website.