“While there are valid differences of perspective on what constitutes discipleship, we define Christian discipleship as a process that takes place within accountable relationships over a period of time for the purpose of bringing believers to spiritual maturity in Christ. Biblical examples suggest that discipleship is both relational and intentional, both position and process…”
— The Eastbourne Consultation on Discipleship, 1999
The Apprentice Approach Podcast, Episode 017 is part one in our newest series on spiritual maturity – how do we know (Biblically) what it looks like, how can we pursue it, and how can we cultivate it in others.
In today’s episode, we’re talking with Ron Bennett – author of multiple books*, blogger, senior staff member of The Navigators, and authority on disciplemaking. Ron has led discipleship ministries on university campuses, military bases, in churches, and in the workplace. He had a background in Aerospace Engineering and the military before coming on staff with The Navigators… but one of the most important things you need to know is that Ron is my spiritual grandfather – which we’ll get into in the podcast.
Ron is a wealth of knowledge, but more important than his knowledge and published books is the practical experience and application he brings to our conversation.
“Discipleship is a process of pursuing – both knowing, reflecting, and sharing Christ. Those form more of the ‘coordinates’ of our journey; a journey that’s a lifetime of adventure! And so those coordinates never change. They provide a ‘fix’ for my spiritual GPS… if I get off track, like my phone it will give me directions back to my destination. So, part of it – to make it work – is to lock in the coordinates in my GPS in order to keep focused and moving in that direction. So, I think often times in our Christian culture, we look more at discipleship as an ‘event’ or ‘course’ rather than a lifestyle that will consume us for the rest of our life. So, I have concluded that my journey for the rest of my life is to pursue those three aspects:
- to know Christ in an ever-deeper way
- to reflect Christ as He transforms me more to look like Him
- to share Christ in whatever ways I can to expand the Kingdom.
And those are not places I’ll arrive, but direction I’m headed. So in that sense, ‘maturity’ is simply an on-going process of going deeper in understanding and going through those three things”
— Ron Bennett
Join us for part one of our conversation with Ron as we cover these (and more) questions:
- What does “spiritual maturity” look like?
- Why does discipleship have to take place within accountable relationships?
- What happens when accountability is missing in intentional relationships?
- How do you bring balance to both relationship and intentionality that brings accountability?
- What do you (Ron) actually and practically do when you meet with someone?
“Maturity is sort of a moving target, but for the stage we’re in, in our Christian journey, there ought to be some indicators that we’re making progress”
— Ron Bennett
Want to know more about what those spiritual maturity “indicators” are – throughout the various stages of the Christian journey? Click here for the “Spiritual Maturity Profile” resource.
*For more from Ron Bennett, visit his blog “The Adventure of Discipleship” including his books: