Sunday, October 12, 2008

Indoctrinating vs. Discipling

Indoctrinating is the attempt to instruct people into a particular, religious belief system.
Discipling is the process of becoming followers of Jesus.

Indoctrinating focuses on: why we do what we do...why it is right...and why this particular way of thinking is necessary.
Discipling is teaching people how & why to pray, to read Scripture, and to follow in the footsteps of Jesus.

Indoctrinating is the attempt to convert people to a religion. (For my own tribe, the C of C, we have often spent more time converting people to the C of C than we have in converting people to Christ)
Discipling is the attempt to convert people to the one who came to create a commitment to a way of life; not a commitment to the right doctrine.

Indoctrinating attempts to convert people to baptism. (Again, for the C of C, we have often began Bible studies with non-believers by turning to Acts 2:38, Romans 6, or Matthew 28)
Discipling views baptism as a vital component of disciple-making. Just as important as being baptized is that people live as baptized people. Discipling begins with Jesus as the source of life.

Indoctrinating focuses on "knowing" right.
Discipling focuses on the lifestyle of living as a person who has been created in the very image of God.

Indoctrinating is often an attempt to get worship right.
Discipling is the attempt to live a life of worship.

Indoctrinating is more concerned with information.
Discipling is more concerned with formation.

Indoctrinating leads people to say some hateful things about those who haven't been indoctrinated.
Discipling is about a journey of being formed into the image of Jesus.

Indoctrinating sees spirituality as a list that needs every box checked before you sign your name on the bottom line.
Discipling sees spirituality as a continual process of being molded into His image.

Both have convictions, faith, and urgency.
Indoctrinating is what Jesus and Paul moved away from.
Discipling is the focus of Jesus' life and ministry on earth.


phil said...

Good post; some things I have observed between the two are: Indoctrinating usually begins with an end in mind (usually once the one being indoctrinated agrees or sees scripture as the one doing the indoctrinating). However, discipling has a timeless aspect to it because the one doing the discipling realizes transformation is an ongoing process.
Also indoctrinating has a bit of an arrogant smell to it, while discipling allows both parties to grow together. And I would also add that I think the present culture today both needs and wants authentic discipling from humility, far more than they want "right answers" from indoctrinating.

Jeff said...

Good words Josh.

Thank you for your blog. You come at things from a different perspective than I have at times and that challenges me to thing again about how I view my relationship with God. The words you use at times initially cause me to say "whoa" because they may not be in sync with what I believe. Oftentimes, I later have to say "whoa" again because the words you use allow me to reopen my book of beliefs and see God in a whole new light.

I am guilty of spending too much time fighting the indoctrination battle while not being a disciple myself. I'm hoping each day to make a radical shift away from indoctrination words and actions and move towards a life of discipling.

Chris said...

I agree to a certain extent. On the other hand one is likely to "fall for anything" if not grounded in sound doctrine. Can't we have both?

Brandon Scott said...

Josh--love and miss you. When do you get here? I need some Josh2 time!

Donny - MarketingTwin #2 said...

Josh, just starting to read your blog. Enjoying the dialogue.

Thanks from a new reader.

ACU '91

preacherman said...

Wonderful post.
I found your points to be very thought provoking and interesting. It challenged the way I think. Helped stretch my mind, and faith. Thank you. I have added your blog to my list of favs. Keep up the great work you do. May God bless you have less you, your family and ministry.

kcox said...

Thank you for helping me see. Thank you for leading me toward discipleship. I have certainly been guilty of indoctrinating. Keep up the good work and keep challenging me to think. There is too little of that going around.

Rick Ross said...


Josh Ross said...

Phil, great thoughts.

Jeff, thanks for your honesty and your friendship.

Chris, you bring up a good point. Both are necessary. For years, we allowed the pendulum to swing so far to indoctrinating that we lost the essence of discipleship. Doctrine is good--only when it is rooted in the mission of Jesus.

Donny, great to hear from you.

Preacherman, you are truly an encouragement.

K-Cox, I am honored to serve at SVC with you.