Making disicples: How = where.
So I’ve been asking a very old question. It is a question that others have asked and I’ve done my best to study their answer and practice what I’ve learned with varying degrees of success and faithfulness over the past 20+ years. But the question is reemerging in me as a critical one that I need to pay attention to.
So Jesus told his first apprentices to “make disciples.” As I read over his life it’s obvious that that is exactly what he did. Yes, he came to save the world from sin and slavery in all its nasty forms and that was a unique part of his life and vocation that noone will ever replicate. As he said “it is finished.” However, there is much of his work that was only started during his earthly sojourn. And I sincerely believe he expects us to fulfill much of what was left undone. We are his body, his presence in the world now so what are we to be doing and how are we to do it? The answer to that question has multiple answers but one that is impossible to miss is “make disciples.”
I guess I’m mostly interested right now in the tactical answers to that question, the how answers. How did Jesus make disciples and how does that inform how we make disciples. Like Jesus we proclaim the gospel – the whole story of God from creation to the restoration of all things. We teach. We heal. We do all the things Jesus did as we are able… and yet there is something so fundamental that often it gets missed.
First, we must be WITH those we would lead to a deeper life in Christ. And this is the starting point that we can not gloss over and it especially comes into view during the Advent season. Immanual, God WITH us. As Peterson translates John 1: “Jesus moved into the neighborhood.” God took up residence in our world. Marks gospel says Jesus called his followers to be with him and then he sent them out. That is our pattern. Being with others so they are ready, prepared for the work of extending God’s love and truth.
This is where it starts (again) for me: Who am I with? Who is with me? Where have I been placed?
The first answer to “how” is where? Where am I? Among whom has God placed me? Who I am uniquely positioned to lovingly influence?