I have officially been working full-time for the Peninsula Baptist Association for three years now. I have spent the last three years trying to live out the calling in my life to help assist, equip, and resource churches to engage in and with their communities. However, I am finding that there is an important aspect of the Christian faith that keeps coming to the surface…discipleship.
Discipleship is somewhat of a “buzz word” right now, like some would say “missional” is as well. So, before we go any further let me assure you that the focus of this blog is not on discipleship because it is a fad. It is unfortunate how important aspects of the Christian faith become an eye roll from people, because they are viewed as the hot topic, buzz word, or “fad” of the Christian culture. But, I digress.
What discipleship is is a mandate, a commissioning, from Jesus himself. The Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20) is something we are well aware of as Christians. We are also aware of Jesus and the 12 disciples and of Paul and Timothy’s discipleship relationship. Biblically, we are given a mandate, an ultimate example, in Jesus, and other examples of how to live out the discipleship life. So, why is this often times put on the back burner and/or not intentionally focused on by the church?
Growing the Kingdom through people accepting Christ is not the end, but rather the beginning of the journey of eternity. Being discipled is something that should be happening, without question, in all of our churches. I am willing to be bold enough to say that discipleship is what can make the difference of people being the church versus people doing church. Discipleship is our mandate. Discipleship is our commissioning.
Then, when we take ownership of being a disciple ourselves and we make it a point to disciple others, the “going” and Kingdom focused ministry comes as second nature. When we are a disciple, our hearts become more aligned with Jesus and our relationship becomes more intimate with the nature of Jesus. Being a believer in Christ is our starting point, but being a disciple of Christ becomes our identity and creates our narrative. Yes, there is still sin, brokenness, and trials. But, if we are always striving to be lifelong learners of Christ and to pour that into others, then we are allowing our identity in Christ to determine who we are versus what may be projected on us by the world. Same goes for church. Do you want your church to only be known as a salesman of the gospel and an event of worship on Sunday? Or, do you also want to invest in the sustainability and advancement of God’s Kingdom by making and multiplying
This is not a fad. This is a mandate, a commissioning, and our identity in the one who we have chosen to follow, Jesus Christ. This is discipleship.