Missing the Point of Discipleship

“As you go make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” Matthew 28:19-20

We know the great commission well but we don’t know discipleship. It struck me this week in a class setting when a few people showed disdain for material that was presenting face-to-face application of the gospel in the lives of friends. For them it was too prescriptive. And being generous I can see the point. But more so I think we wrestle with something like a script for telling people about Jesus over a meal because we never do it. We don’t know discipleship.

We think what Jesus means in his commission is to raise money so someone can go to far off lands or invite people to programs at the church so they can be discipled. Yet my experience is that very few people in the church actually disciple anyone. So at least anecodotaly we have missed the point.

Look at Jesus’ example first for a picture of discipleship. Giving others access to his life and teaching them along the way. To be a disciple of Jesus was to watch his life and ministry then talk about it. Eventually disciples would be sent to do the same things always coming back to Jesus to nurture the relationship.

In line with the parable of the talents, which is certainly about money but also so much more than that, we are not investing our time in multiplying the people around us we are called to steward when Jesus says “make disciples.” And friend you must know, your twitter followers are not disciples. Face-to-face, life-on-life discipleship is what we were meant for.

This is among the key transformations that must happen in the church if we are to experience revival in our day and on the local, my church, level it a key goal for the year in my mind. Beginning with the elders and other leaders in the church, honestly assessing if we are discipling people and prayerfully expecting that example to stir others to the same.

When the grace of Jesus wrecks you and frees you to life, we can’t help but share it and walk out this truth with others.

Shall we be about it?

The Kingdom and Your Patch of Grass

I should say patch of sand given I live near the desert…

Maybe it is time for us to see the Kingdom of God as the thing of importance rather than our little patch of it. Instead of our own brand we could build partnerships and gospel unity for the fame of Christ in our cities.

I promise this is where the good stuff is. Outposts of Jesus’ new reality working in unison not to draw a crowd but to see the Kingdom go forth for the glory of God.

Let’s do it.

The Way from Above and the Church

I am encouraged as I am reading The Way of the Dragon or the Way of the Lamb: Searching for Jesus’ Path of Power in a Church that Has Abandoned It by Jamin Goggin and Kyle Strobel.

It is essentially a call to weakness that lives in the power of Christ. Recognizing that so much of life is lived under power schemes that are actually unhealthy or evil.

Living the way of Jesus though is not a solitary endeavor. Here is what they say of the church, take it to heart.

Because we are prone to waywardness, prone to walk the path of pride, self-sufficiency, and power, we need the church to ground us in Christ and his way. We cannot live in Christ’s way on our own. This likely sounds right, but many of us functionally doubt our need for the church. Pursuing the way of Christ seems like a “me and Jesus” kind of endeavor. But our focus on ourselves unearths a deep foolishness that owes more to our culture and worldliness than it does to Scripture. We have no hope of pursuing the way from above apart from the church.

Passing on Passivity

Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. For since the message declared by angels proved to be reliable, and every transgression or disobedience received a just retribution, how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? It was declared at first by the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard, while God also bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.” Hebrews 2:1–4 (ESV)

One conversation I always bristle at, and have had often, goes a little something like this: “I still love Jesus and I know I am saved, but since it is all about grace I don’t NEED to study Scripture or talk to other Christians about my faith, I don’t NEED to come to church on Sundays…”

As you can imagine this conversation is usually with someone that has stopped attending the gathering of the saints, or refuses to participate in small groups, or is confounded by their lack of growth and hope when they have no “Scriptural diet.” And I get it, I feel the same pull toward passivity all the time.

But this is not what we are meant for when we respond to the glorious good news of Christ’s life, death, and resurrection for us. We are meant to press into it not be passive about it.

Calling it mining the depths of the gospel or whatever you prefer, just dive into it and keep going. As the author of Hebrews offers, “we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it.”

That’s the danger, drifting. Assuming and eventually losing the hope you have in the justification granted by Jesus, and certainly no experience of the sanctification promised. We even lose a sense of truth as we wander distracted by the lights and voices of our world.

If you find yourself tempted in this way, take up and read, see Christ in Scripture and in the community of believers around you. Find people that will stay on the journey with you. Pay attention to the gospel because you are prone to forget it. Do everything you can to prevent drifting away. Pass on the passivity.