Beyond Bar Code Christianity


Luke 9:23 says, “Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” (NIV)

One of my favorite authors’ Dallas Willard coined the phrase: “bar code” Christianity. He said some people ignorantly live as if God rings us with a huge scanner from heaven, which automatically assures us of eternal life. Many people I see in church think that Christianity is simply attending church on Sunday, wearing the uniform; playing in the band, singing in the songsters, or tithing. Although these activities are important and valuable, they are not enough.

To go beyond bar code Christianity, we must commit to spiritual growth. That is where discipleship comes in. Discipleship is a process by which God transforms us from ignorance to knowledge. Becoming a Christian is automatic; becoming a disciple is a lifetime commitment. “A disciple is a person that is “journeying with and helping another to grow in knowledge as well as in the virtues and character of Christ.” – Calhoun


A disciple is a person who is dedicated to learning from Christ daily.  A disciple is a person who is intentionally walking with others along their faith journey, imparting a little of themselves onto others. Discipleship is not for a selected few, special Christians. Discipleship is for all Christians. In fact, a disciple and a Christian are one and the same thing. A Christian is incomplete without discipleship. Christianity is about growing in our knowledge of God. A disciple is a Christian who is growing through various stages to spiritual maturity. Discipleship is the avenue for this growth. Jesus challenges us to pick up the cross, and follow Him, daily. Our growth depends, in part, on our willingness to commit time for prayer and study of His Word.

  • Are you ready to become a student of God’s Word?
  • Are you part of a life-giving, spiritually edifying Bible Study group?
  • Would you be willing to join a group to study the Bible together?
  • Get together with someone, find a Discipleship book, and study together.

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