Discipleship

Insistently Local and Personal

Since we are all in the business of re-imagining life as we know it, I think it is also a good idea to reclaim those things we are supposed to be about anyway.

To this end, the words of Eugene Peterson in “The Jesus Way” have stirred me this week. Here is a flavor, at length.

“The local congregation is the place and community for listening to and obeying Christ’s commands, for inviting people to consider and respond to Jesus’ invitation, “Follow me,” a place and community for worshiping God. It is the place and community where we are baptized into a Trinitarian identity and go on to mature “to the measure of the full stature of Christ” (Eph. 4:13), where we can be taught the Scriptures and learn to discern the ways that we follow Jesus, the Way.

“The local congregation is the primary place for dealing with the particulars and people we live with. As created and sustained by the Holy Spirit, it is insistently local and personal… A Christian congregation is a company of praying men and women who gather, usually on Sundays, for worship, who then go into the world as salt and light. God’s Holy Spirit calls and forms this people. God means to do something with us, and he means to do it in community. We are in on what God is doing, and we are in on it together.” (The Jesus Way, page 5).

Oh man how I long for the local and personal bit (when we can be together in-person again.) But this is to be held onto. To be fought for. That we don’t settle for an online experience but ache to return as the body of Christ in time.

We still do these things using the gifts of technology, to the best we can, but we can’t prefer this way. We are meant to be together. And we will be. Even apart for these months we are still part of what God is up to, we are still in on it together, and one day we will really be together again.

Let’s press on to that day. Let’s keep our claim on the community of The Way.

Discipleship

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?

Discipleship

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.