Karate Kid, Discipleship, and Why Some Are Leaving Christianity

Mr. Miyagi knew discipleship. He knew what it took to train someone to be able to do the things he did. Miyagi trained Daniel this way, not because cars needed to be washed but because these were the moves Daniel had to repeat enough times that it became natural to him (think muscle memory). When you do something enough times, your body is able to do it nearly instantaneously, almost without thinking. Daniel had to learn this…not just head knowledge alone . He had to learn how to act and react if he was going to succeed and grow. He had to learn this because there was a fight coming and he had to be ready.

The same is true with our faith. We disciple people in times of peace to ready them for times of trial. We lose credibility when we fail to make the Miyagi connection, letting people know that there is more to all they are doing than what they see. When we don’t make the connection between what we do “at church” with real life (relevance) all we leave people thinking they are doing is washing cars and painting fences. That is one of the biggest reasons young people have left the church is because we haven’t always made the obvious connection of how what we do is preparing them for significant things that they must be ready for.

It is crucial we help people make this connection.


About mattdabbs
I am a minister, husband, and father. My wife and I live and minister in Saint Petersburg, Florida. My primary ministry responsibilities include: small groups, 20s and 30s, involvement, and adult education.

7 Responses to Karate Kid, Discipleship, and Why Some Are Leaving Christianity

  1. Eric B says:

    great post

  2. qoheleth1958 says:

    Absolutely agree that the church is failing to make the connection between the practice of christian Religion and the practice of Christian living. I wonder to what extent the reason for this failure is down to a failure of ministers (and other church leaders) to make that connection in our own lives?

    • mattdabbs says:

      If you look at the amount of time it takes to disciple someone and you look at how few official leaders there are in the church as opposed to how many people need discipled you can quickly see that even if the “leaders” spent every waking hour discipling people they still couldn’t do it by themselves. We have to train people who can train people.

      You are right, though, if the leaders are unwilling to personally embrace the cross how can or will others follow?

      • qoheleth1958 says:

        I was thinking that we need contagious examples – but if the first one is not there, there is no starter. But yes, there is no way the minister can, still less should, do it all. At the moment I see it as my job to encourage lay members each to engage in his/her ministry to the point where that congregation no longer needs me, but can stand on their own collective feet – which, naturally, remain planted on the Rock!

  3. Paul Smith says:

    Well done, Matt san.

  4. mark says:

    Because a lot of people were taught that a good cofC member went to church twice on Sunday and then Wednesday night. That got you check marks in the big book (yes, there really was an attendance book, I saw it once For myself. It had lots of dead people’s names in it too. They only started a new page every year or two). There was no mention of life occurring during the remaining hours of the week outside of church when life went on, other than everything fun was forbidden and you would get sent to hell for it. When you were in church or Sunday school you learned about Paul’s missionary journeys and other facts, never about how Jesus responded to questions and just what was in Isaiah that made it so long.

  5. sehulviras83 says:

    Great read. Simple and true.

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