This commandment was referenced in two different churches, in two different states, on two different Sundays, linked by the commonality of having me in the congregation. So I’ve been pondering as-you-go discipleship. What follows are my musings, about scripture, the command, and the outworking (or lack of outworking) in my own life:
Making disciples involves both evangelism and follow-up. It is not enough to only preach the gospel, or to only minister to those who already know Christ. Disciple-making is a greater call than either of those. It involves time, relationships, vulnerability. Disciples aren’t formed overnight any more than converts open their eyes and have a full knowledge of scripture. To make disciples is to walk alongside people; to ask deep questions and wait for the answers to rise to the surface; to love people well – both across time and place and in the brief moments God puts them in our lives.
Christ’s command in ongoing, not so limited as to be a box to check or a soul to save. Like all of the gospel, we live out our faith as we go:
we reject a Sunday gospel;
we reject compartmentalized faith;
we strive toward cohesive authenticity across spheres, across roles and across relationships.
Only disciple-making ‘as we go’ allows for the consistency of life Christ calls us to.
Pondering this more, I realized that this is what I love about home. Intentionality is rarely schedule-altering or agenda-dropping, but is an invitation into life. It looks like running errands, dropping kids off at school, messy kitchens, bad moods, and true stories, broken up by runny noses, stop lights, and text messages. As-you-go discipleship is a lifetime. Disciples are picked up on the way; whereas Christ gathered them on the road, or at their job, or in their homes, we gather at Heinens, at Java Bay, on the soccer field.
But as-you-go discipleship doesn’t mean haphazard leftovers given out to passerbys. It means no secrets, because your life is open to others. It means sacrifice of privacy, schedule, and self-centeredness.
When we live our lives in front of others, we are forced to be consistent. Subsequently, we are also forced to repent and seek forgiveness; to overlook offenses and give grace. We invite people into our mundane realities, making the most of every opportunity.
I imagine that this looks different for each individual follower of Christ, but I think it uniformly requires death to self.
For me, it will involve creating a home that truly has an open-door policy, even when I would prefer it to look neater; inviting others into my routines, even if that makes them take longer; carpooling, joining others for lunch, and being present in my own household when I would prefer isolation. There are dozens more applications. As always, I welcome your assistance, as we go.
Lord, give grace.