Don’t be shocked if you hear a woman say something like, “The Well is not for me.” There are reasons why a woman might not feel like a Well Bible study is for her, and one of them might be our discipleship culture. There are some characteristics of a discipleship culture that can make people feel down right uncomfortable! The first message within such a culture seems agreeable enough, “Welcome, we’re glad
you’re here,” but a true discipleship environment will calibrate that with, “Come as you are, but don’t leave as you came.” Those unfamiliar with a discipleship culture may bristle against this kind of challenge because, frankly, our religious culture can condition us to maintain what we have and then believe we’ll hear “well done” for just holding on to whatever we’ve got. However, followers of Christ are supposed to be living creations that grow spiritually, which cannot happen without challenge. Another reason The Well doesn’t work for some is that they find the transparency of individuals unnecessary, shameful, over-the-top or even offensive. But without authenticity you have no environment for discipleship. Plus, seriously – we all have junk! Jesus came to break us out of the darkness because it’s in His light alone that we find real freedom. It’s risky to be vulnerable and let your guard down so others can see your mess and because it’s risky, many stay imprisoned in their mess. But you can have no true discipleship without exposing the mess and letting God redeem it. Lastly, the idea of accountability that is found in a discipling culture can feel foreign, intrusive and even threatening to some. Paul teaches us in Romans 14:12 that each of us will give an account of himself to God, which means we are accountable to our Creator for the way we live and the way we steward our salvation. One of the ways He’s given for us to grow in our salvation is through relationships with others in the Body of Christ. So the bottom line is this: The Well has a discipleship culture and a discipleship culture only appeals to folks who want discipleship. I sure hope that’s not the reason why someone doesn’t think we’re for them.