By Tiffany Deluccia >>>
A couple of questions for you:
1) Have you been discipled? What was that experience like?
2) Have you discipled anyone else?
I was recently presented with these questions in a mixed group setting of Christians of various ages and backgrounds. After making it abundantly clear that any answer was acceptable, the question-asker took us around the table to listen to each other’s answers.
I was surprised and pleased by the honesty — It felt like a safe place and the answers were genuine. But the answers also made me sad. More than half had been in the Church for years and had never experienced discipleship, that process of connecting with someone further along in the their journey following Jesus and learning from them how to follow Him better.
If not creating disciples, what exactly has the Church been about?
I don’t mean to criticize the Bride, and I’m certainly not point fingers. The truth is, WE are the church, so if discipleship isn’t happening like it should, then there is fault in all of us as individuals.
The coolest thing I’ve every experienced was being given the privilege of discipling about eight girls from the time they were in the seventh grade through high school graduation. They can tell you well enough that I was far from perfect. I was only eighteen myself when I started leading them! I didn’t always have an answer for their questions. I wasn’t always as loving as I wanted to be. I wasn’t always as real as I needed to be. But discipleship isn’t about becoming a perfect follower of Jesus and then bestowing all of your magnificent perfection on someone else.
It’s the very last directive Jesus gave us — and He knew we’d make a mess of it. But there’s beauty in even the messes, as they highlight Jesus’ perfection.
So, ponder these questions yourself:
Have you been discipled? If not, it’s time to find someone you can follow as they follow Christ. It doesn’t have to be a formal arrangement. You don’t have to have an awkward, monthly discipling coffee date. Find someone you respect who follows the Lord well and spend time with them. Ask them what they read, who they listen to. When you have a hard question you need to discuss, send it their way. Make sure there is someone in your life who helps you grow because they know you more intimately than a speaker on a platform ever can.
Have you discipled someone else? If not at all or just not currently, consider making this a 2015 priority. You don’t have to be perfect. You can still be getting discipled yourself. In fact, you probably should be. The Kingdom of God advances by an army of individuals who have found themselves in God’s family and relentlessly invite others to be a part of it.
Lord, let us not become distracted from this calling.
Photo: A few of the girls from my small group, at one of Landon’s dominating softball games, a few years back. They’ll probably kill me for posting this, but it was on Facebook, so it’s fair game, right? 😉