Thursday, April 10, 2014

Born this way

The resurgence of conversation about discipleship within the context of family and the church is an encouraging sign for both the present and the future of Christianity.

But I wonder if sometimes we create more confusion than clarity when we attempt to communicate our vision for the future. Do families and individuals simply hear that discipleship is yet another thing they have to try and fit into their already overcrowded calendar? What if we reframed the conversation about discipleship around the theme of intentionality and consistency, would that answer the question?

One of the more famous statements Jesus made is commonly known as the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20). Here are two ideas I’m discovering about these words of Jesus through a fresh lens.

1. Discipleship is more natural than we think.  Jesus frames the conversation about discipleship by simply uttering the phrase “go and make disciples.” What this tells us is a number of things. First of all, there is an expectancy that we will make disciples, meaning that our lives are meant to inspire others towards hope and a future. The way we live, how we talk, what we celebrate…all of these characteristics point to the hopefulness we are encouraged to represent. When your life is reflected in a mirror, does it point to hope or to something else?

The second element of truth in this phrase is that the idea of discipleship is what we humans were created to do. Now please understand that when I use the word discipleship I’m referring not only to making disciples, but also to living missionally and acting as an evangelist. A disciple is someone who follows Jesus. A person that follows Jesus must live missionally because Jesus is mission, and to be on mission with Jesus is to tell the story of who Jesus is through the way we act and speak. For too long these facets of Christianity may have been seen as antonyms with one another, but they are instead synonyms and function together in cohesive communion within each other. Whether we know it or not, we are in the business of discipling people. How we act, what we say, where we invest our lives…all of these elements express our discipling ways to those around us.

And finally, making disciples is an ongoing process that does not come to a static conclusion. Discipleship is an organic entanglement because people are both complex and simple. It’s true that shared basic needs shape humanity at the general level, but each person requires a unique invitation towards a hope-filled expression of life making the complexity of the discipleship process more diverse than uniform.

2. Intentionality and consistency.  If discipleship is a natural expression of human life, the intentionality and consistency behind that expression are of crucial significance.

Every human being engages in the formation of people (discipleship) consciously or unconsciously. Examining one’s intentions and desired outcomes in creating connections with others reveals the degree to which the individual is aware of his or her influence, significance and meaning.

Imagine if an entire generation of people understood that who they are matters and what they do with what the life they have been given makes a difference. How different would the world in which we live become?

We were born to create, born to connect and born to grow. Discipleship isn’t a fad; it’s a part of our original design. How are you inspiring the people around you to discover that they were born in this way?

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A Little Something from Psalm 8

 Had a lot of fun with this one.