Discipleship in the 21st Century

The digital explosion has changed the world forever. There are now about 2.3 billion people who have access to the internet and over 800 million people who are on Facebook. There are countless gadgets and devices now on the market that 15 years ago would have sounded silly. Even something like a blog (weblog) would have sounded like a strange concept back in the 90’s.

It’s amazing how the internet has shrunk the globe. It never ceases to amaze me the people who find their way onto this blog. In just the last week alone, there were visitors from the UK, New Zealand, Australia, Cambodia, Taiwan, Brazil, Poland, Iceland, Indonesia, Singapore, Philippines, and Ghana, in addition to North America. Obviously, the internet has been used for a lot of very bad things, but God has also used this tool for the furtherance of the gospel.

Let me give you an example of redeeming technology for the purpose of discipleship. Recently, a good friend of mine by the name of James had an idea. He wanted to be able to study the bible together with some brothers in Christ, one of them being yours truly. The problem is that James lives in Calgary, I’m in Ohio, and our friend Bruce is in Vancouver. James’ solution to this problem was to open a blog and download the Psalms onto the blog. Our plan is (we are just getting started) to read the Psalms together, comment on what we are learning, and sharpen one another in the Lord (Proverbs 27:17). This is a really simple idea, but it can be effective. Any time Christians use technology to draw them into the Word of God, it’s a good thing.

Just so you know, I am not in favor of the growing digital church (multi-site) movement. If you are not part of a church, then join a solid, Bible-believing, gospel-centered church. It’s great to have brothers and sisters around the world in Christ, but these  types of relationships should never substitute for involvement in a local church. The Bible tells us, “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:24-25)

There are all kinds of ways the digital explosion is being used to spread gospel truth around the globe. I praise God for that and I pray that the people of God would continue to find creative ways to practice discipleship. Whatever the medium, the bottom line is this – we must sit at the feet of our Master (Luke 10:39) and listen to His teaching and be empowered by His grace (Titus 2:11-14).

2 thoughts on “Discipleship in the 21st Century”

  1. Very thoughtful. I agree that the internet church movement, should not trump meeting together so long as believers are able. I once went to a satellite church. The pastor preached to us from the monitor. I thought it would be less personal and annoying. However, strangely enough, it felt as if he was preaching to us even though he wasn’t there. That being said, being around people in the flesh is by far the best. Paul did do some distance discipling (the Epistles), but he also seemed to always have a desire to see those people face to face too. Thanks for posting.

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  2. Thanks Steve for your comment. I would emphasize church planting over multi-sight. I am sure that there are some strong multi-sight churches, but it is never ideal.

    Dan

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