BLOG 1/18/19. A WORD OF EXPLANATION TO MY SUBSCRIBERS
In my last blog (1/15/19) I broached the subject of disciples and disciple-making. Those are such commonly used, and s commonly misunderstood or misused, that I have become consumed with an interest of how I could use the lessons I have learned over a long career of grappling with this Biblical mandate in order to provide some realistic orientation into this formative New Testament concept. This has been provoked by my disappointment in some well-meaning recent books, which while containing some helpful principles, … in my mind were too ‘gimmicky,’ too wedded to a ‘one-size-fits-all’ pattern (that doesn’t always fit!).
After all, every disciple is a unique personality with often-complex traits, … and every disciple-maker, likewise. Then there is the ever-changing cultural context that often has so many ambiguous components, in which context of change this discipline takes place. Disciple-making is not learned in the abstract, or in a classroom, but in practice. Yes, Jesus did spend time instructing his twelve disciples in private (what with their diverse ages and personalities) and in public, but then he sent them out to put into practice what he had taught and modeled for them.
They, in turn, could return and ask him questions, and express doubts or confusion to him. But at least they had a primary model in Jesus, and disciple-makers do indeed need some kind of a model. They could watch him engage in all those encounters with real persons along the way. They also kept making mistakes, and ‘tripping over their own feet.’ Yet, that is a part of the learning process. Paul would later write the Philippians: “What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you” (Philippians 4:9).
All of this is to explain that recently I have been provoked and encouraged to write into some sort of a publication what might be my own lessons-learned about disciple-making. This will consume my thinking, and may also may these blog erratic for a few months. Somehow, I hope to share some wisdom learned that will help us to be purposefully contagious Christian men and women. Disciple-making should certainly be a sine qua non for all of us who signed-on to be Christ’s faithful disciples by virtue of our baptismal/confirmation vows. When we come to Christ by faith, it is something like my signing a ‘statement of consent’ to allow my cardiologist to perform heart surgery on me, i.e., we give Christ consent to live out his life and mission through ours.
It is also a constant reminder that those who do Christ’s will are the ones who are his disciples. This writing projcect is an intimidating task for me to undertake, but if it will be purposeful for some, then it is worth it. I would covet your prayers.