That can't be right! Disagreeing with your discipleship type

May 27th, 2020

Editor's note: This article is part of a series of articles from the author related to the release of Gospel Discipleship: Participant Guide and Gospel Discipleship: Congregation Guide (Abingdon Press, 2020). Read previous posts here and follow the six-week Wednesday night webinars beginning May 6.


Now we see a reflection in a mirror; then we will see face-to-face. Now I know partially, but then I will know completely in the same way that I have been completely known. (1 Corinthians 13:12)

“Holy cow!! How did you do that?!?! You NAILED my Discipleship like 100%. #1 is Matthean and #2 is Johannine!! Both are perfectly ME!!!”

That response on my Facebook page when I first posted the link to the Gospel Discipleship assessment (www.ministrymatters.com/gospeldiscipleship) is very typical of what I saw when I worked with churches and people individually. The vast majority of the time, people are stunned when they look at the results, surprised by how accurate they are to who they are and how they understand following Jesus. 

But there are almost always at least a couple people in every church who argue with me. They disagree with the outcome of their test. I have had several conversations with these folks. When I had first developed the assessment, those conversations proved very fruitful, as it helped me identify questions that were drawing some false results. If you are taking the assessment from the link above, you are on the fourth iteration. I am grateful for all the folks who shared and helped bring the assessment more in line with reality.

"Gospel Discipleship" by Michelle J. Morris. Order here: https://bit.ly/GospelDiscipleshipParticipant

But there are still some who disagree. I am still having conversations. I am finding, however, that more and more of the objections fall into four main categories, three I will cover below and the last will be covered next time (there seems to be a special case for people who may be Markan but who don’t test Markan).

So, you may find that there is some tension in your results because:

  1. It reveals your motivation, not your action. I had a church argue with me that they are a Matthean church, not a Lukan church. They thought this was the case because they are so active. But then I started asking them questions about those actions. “You have a pancake dinner every month. Why do you do that?” “Because we love to get together and share a meal!” (The Matthean answer would have been because there are hungry people outside our doors and we need to feed them.) “You take goodies to the teachers at the local elementary school. Why do you do that?” “Because they need to know they are loved and appreciated for the work they do!” (The Matthean answer would have been that they are short on supplies.) Yes, they take Matthean actions, but they do so for Lukan reasons. And then, if there was any question, I sat through a meeting where they spent thirty minutes talking about all the changes they would need to make to their facilities in order to invite the Chamber of Commerce to have their offices there, and while the discussion involved actions they needed to take, they were all actions that would allow them to be more hospitable to their guests. Yeah, they are Lukan, through and through. So, if you have tested a type that you think is not indicative of who you are, then ask yourself why you do what you do. Your motivation may actually reveal the type the assessment showed.

  2. You are drawn to worship in a church different from your type. Some of us are meant to be the kinds of people who help others grow in their discipleship. The way that growth often happens is by encountering others who think differently than we do. It is in the rub of difference that our faith grows. If you are one of those folks, then you may have either a primary or secondary type in your results that you do not think reflects you much at all. However, if you think about it, it does reflect the overall behavior and theology of your church, or the church you feel most drawn to. Thank God for you! You will always bristle a little bit in your church, but you will also help keep them from standing still and being too complacent in their walk with Christ. 

  3. You are actually close on multiple discipleship types. It is possible that you are close to being a multi-typer, what I call someone who fits most or all of the types pretty well. If you really struggled with choosing among most of the answers of the questions (and I mean REALLY struggled; if you just thought All of these are good, but I am this answer, that is not a struggle), then you are probably a multi-typer. You probably want to grab a copy of the Gospel Discipleship Participant Guide and read through each of the types. Then you can sort of build yourself a hybrid type from among them.

If you don’t think any of these three options fits exactly, and you think you might be Markan but didn’t test Markan, look for my next article. But if you don’t think you are Markan, and you still don’t think any of these answers work, then send me your thoughts and your story to info@gospeldiscipleship.net.  I would love to learn from you and get your insight.

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