The common definition for the word disciple among Christians, preached from pulpits and taught in Bible colleges, is that a disciple is a close follower of Christ.
That is a pretty weak definition of a disciple.
Someone who is a close follower of a sports team can tell you in great detail the statistics of that team, who plays for the team, and a bunch of other frivolous information. They can possibly even tell you why that team has a good chance at being in the championship game at the end of the season.
That person spent a lot of time investing into that game. More specifically that team. They watch every game. They listen to Sports News. Read and watch archives of the team's history. So is this person considered a disciple? By that weak definition, yes. But really they are called a fan.
Webster's Dictionary says:
Fan - an enthusiastic devotee or admirer of a sport, pastime, celebrity, etc.
Disciple - a person who is a pupil or an adherent of the doctrine of another.
Both deal with an understanding of the fundamentals of what they follow. However, a fan is always a spectator and a disciple is always a participator.
So are we creating fans or disciples in our churches?
In today's modern church we have separated discipleship from salvation. These churches feel discipleship to be a matter that is handled latter on. Those who do this are spiritually stupid. Our relationship to Christ as our Savior is just as crucial as our relationship to Him as our Lord. When we accept Christ's salvation we also accept our need and responsibility to become a disciple. We take Jesus completely as He is without reservation. He is our Savior AND Lord.
There are no fans in heaven. We are more than close followers. We are involved head to toe, day in and day out in our need for spiritual growth. We should be in a perpetually growing experiential relationship with God. Training our bodies, minds, and spirits to fulfuilling our responsibility to become a disciple.
If all we are doing is creating fans then we are populating hell through the fake ministry of the church. The church exists to worship God first and foremost then to create disciples who create disciples. Our relationship with God is not a game so it makes no sense to stay in the seats of the church and cheer when there is growth that needs to take place.