The doctrine of Discipleship is derived from the Great Commission as recorded in Matthew 28:19-20 where Jesus said, "Go ye therefore, and teach (Greek: mathateusata) all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching (Greek: didaskontes) them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen."
The first word that is translated "teach" is the greek word: mathateusata which means to disciple, to train, to discipline and to instruct. The second word that is translated "teaching" is the greek word: mathateusata which means to teach, to direct and to admonish.
Thus, the responsibility of the Body of Christ is not merely to proclaim salvation in the name of Christ, but to invest in each new convert the time and resources needed to establish them "in the faith" just as Jesus invested 3 1/2 years in the lives of His disciples.
If one takes an honest look at the Church today, he would have to admit that most assemblies of believers are like feather pillows: a lot of fluff with very little substance. Could it be that the religious formality of the old-line denominations and the cavalier proclomation of "give Jesus a try" of the evangelical community have given birth to a generation of "church goers" who have no concept of taking up the cross and following Christ?
I am reminded of a game we played as children. It was called "He said, She said". Everyone would sit in a circle. One of the children would then whisper a 10-15 word message to the person on his right. That child would then whisper the message to the person on their right. And on it would go, all around the circle until it got back to the first child. How amusing it was to compare the original message with its final form. The two messages rarely had anything in common. Such is the condition of many Believers today! They do not have a system of beliefs based on their personal experience with Scripture. They only know what was told to someone, that was then told to someone else, that was then told to someone else and was then told to them. I recall all too clearly the times I have challenged Believers to show me the scriptural support for their various beliefs only to be told "this is what my denomination believes" or "this is what my previous pastor taught me". Listen to me, true discipleship is based on an intimate knowledge of The Word of God! Ministers who understand Biblical discipleship will impart to their disciples a passion for God's Word.
Allow me to let you in on a little secret...you can't give away what you don't have. Don't take my word for it, look up in Matthew 12:34. And herein lies the problem! You see, most ministers are the product of a seminary where they were taught (didaktos) the denominational interpretation of Scripture, or the product of a Bible school where they were taught (didaktos) the non-denominational interpretation of Scripture, or the product of their own studies where they taught (didaktos) themselves their own interpretation of Scripture. There is a lot of teaching going on without any discipleship. And it's the discipleship that enables the Christian to stand firm in the face of adversity.
A quick look into the Word will show us that the Apostles didn't have an easy time establishing the Church. II Corinthians 11:24-28 lists the trials and tribulations of Paul. How did he stand? How did he persevere?