Make disciples who shape our community.
That sentence is plastered (or maybe glued – I’m not sure the actual method of adhesion) on the wall in the Cafe here at Veritas. That sentence is our mission. That sentence is our goal. That sentence is what drives us as a church. And that sentence is what should drive us as individuals. But before it can drive what we do – at least effectively – we need to clear something up:
Discipleship isn’t an event.
Here’s what I mean. Nowhere in Scripture is discipleship outlined as a thing that happens for a couple hours on a Tuesday night, only to be picked up again the following week. Nowhere in Scripture is discipleship outlined as two people sitting down for coffee a couple times a month to go through a curriculum or book together. Are those things good? Yes! Are those things beneficial to learning and growing as a follower of Jesus? Absolutely! But I think that when discipleship is mentioned, those are unfortunately the only type of things we think of. We forget that Jesus didn’t invite a couple people to a weekly meeting. We forget that, instead, he invited people to follow Him. He invited people to walk where he walked, listen to what he said, to watch how he lived and to learn from his life.
We are all, as people who have been redeemed by Jesus, called to make disciples. So, how do we disciple the way Jesus discipled? We ought to invite people to walk where we walk, listen to how we talk, and watch how we live. We can then use those things as an opportunity to teach them about Jesus. Disciples aren’t just made by sit down conversations at a coffee shop. Disciples are made when you bring people to the grocery store, invite them to see the the loud, dirty, and dysfunctional side of your home. Disciples are made when you act and talk like Jesus at work instead of avoiding the possibly awkward conversations. Disciples are made when you mess up and you admit it and run back to Jesus. Disciples aren’t made by you pretending you have it all together, but instead, inviting people in to see the mess and point them to Jesus through it.
Discipleship can’t happen just at a program or just going through curriculum. But, discipleship can happen in everything you do. The question then becomes, are you making a disciple of Jesus or of yourself? If we are going to be people that invite others to walk how we walk, talk how we talk, and do what we do in hopes that they would be more like Jesus, we need to be people who are actively walking where Jesus walked, talking how Jesus talked, and doing what Jesus did.
What would happen if we stopped seeing discipleship as just an event or program and started seeing discipleship as inviting others to walk with Jesus as we walk with Jesus?
I think we’d see people go from seeing discipleship as the church’s job to seeing discipleship as their job. I think we would actually start to see our communities, our workplaces, our schools, and even our churches change. We’d see people go from just trying to learn about Jesus to living for Jesus and teaching Jesus as they go. I think we’d start to see more disciples who shape our community.