The Grateful Dead and Discipleship

Guest Post Bill Hull

For two years, one of my friends followed the rock group The Grateful Dead. He was known as a Deadhead. He didn’t follow The Dead casually like a fan who follows baseball. He traveled from city to city, living out of his car. He wanted to live the same life the band lived. My friend might have been misguided, but he was totally committed. He was a true disciple in much the same way the New Testament describes discipleship. God’s Very Best for His People Jesus taught that faith means to follow. That was his first test of a person’s faith (see Luke 9:23-25). Following, however, isn’t short term. Discipleship isn’t a program or an event; it’s a way of life. It’s not for a limited time, but for our whole life. Discipleship isn’t for beginners alone; it’s for all believers for every day of their life. Discipleship isn’t just one of the things the church does; it is what the church does. It’s not just part of the advancement of God’s kingdom; the existence of serious disciples is the most important evidence of God’s work on earth. Without enough of these workers, the task languishes and the work remains incomplete (see Matthew 9:35-38). Simply, discipleship means learning from and following a teacher. However, while we can define discipleship in these simple terms, something about the discipleship movement has never quite made it into the heart of the church. I find it particularly puzzling that we struggle to put disciple-making at the center of ministry even though Jesus left us with the clear imperative to “make disciples” (see Matthew 28:18-20). So why don’t we automatically place discipleship at the center of every ministry? Perhaps certain words put people off: influence, vision, submission, accountability, vulnerability, confession, study, sacrifice, and discipline. With just a few powerful words, the apostle Paul touched on another reason people tend to avoid discipleship: “Train yourself to be godly” (1 Timothy 4:7). Let’s face it — discipline isn’t something most of us like. We avoid discipline if we can, because it disrupts the normal and comfortable pattern of our life. The great Christian apologist C. S. Lewis wrote that the word he detested most was “interference.” Interference occurs when someone sticks his nose in your business. However, that’s precisely what discipleship is all about. If you want to grow in a meaningful way, you not only must tolerate another person’s intimate knowledge of you, you must also willingly invite that person into your life. Even more startling, you’ll grow to love and depend on the “interference.” Most of us want to reap the harvest of a discipline while living a life of relative sloth. We want all the benefits of humility and growth without being humble or working to grow. Yet Scripture states clearly that we require a great deal of interference to stem the tide of our self-indulgence. This positive interference lies at the very heart of making disciples — a process Jesus described as teaching others “to obey everything I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:20). (Excerpt from Bill Hull The Complete Book of Discipleship) Bill Hull is a writer and discipleship evangelist calling the church to CHOOSE THE LIFE to which Jesus called every disciple. Bill has not only written many books on this subject, he spent twenty years working it out as a pastor. The core of Bill’s early writing was Jesus Christ Disciple Maker, The Disciple Making Pastor and the Disciple Making Church. These works made the case for Jesus as the prime example of a disciple maker, and that discipleship should be the core of every pastor and church’s work.  Bill’s later writing has been centered on personal transformation and how that forms the basis for change in both church and society. Choose The Life, and Christlike, and his most recent work Rehabilitation of Christian Leadership are manifestos to the critical nature of living our ordinary lives as though Jesus were living them. Bill is a graduate of Oral Roberts University 1969 and Talbot School of Theology 1979. Related Material Bill was the Co-founder and President of TNET International 1990-1998 A training network to create Disciple Making Churches as well as a Pastor for 20 years. Currently, He serves as Adjunct Professor at Talbot School of Theology @ Biola University. Here is the List of his Books:  Seven Steps to Transform Your Church Baker books 1993 Building High Commitment in a Low Commitment World Baker books 1995 Anxious For Nothing 1987 Revival that Reforms Baker books 1998 Straight Talk on Spiritual Power Baker books 2002 Jesus Christ Disciple Maker , Baker Books ,Twentieth Anniversary Release February 2004 The Complete Book of Discipleship  2006 The Disciple Making Pastor  2007  Twentieth Anniversary Release The Disciple Making Church 2010  Twentieth Anniversary Release Choose the Life , Baker Books, May 2004 The Choose The Life Journey Curriculum  Navpress 2010 CHRISTLIKE  2010 The Disciple   A novel  November 2013 The Rehabilitation of  Christian Leadership, 2014 You can view all these books on You can stay current with Twitter: @BillHull Facebook: /BillHull BIll is speaking at Replicate 2014 this March. If you haven’t Signed up, head over here.