Thursday is for Discipleship
Short answer, I don’t know. But I think we can see the outlines of the process in the pages of the gospels.
So in this post I want to continue to try to uncover what “INTENTIONAL WITHNESS” looks like. (This discussion began here on March 18, 2010.)
Jesus choose them, then spent 3-4 years with his disciples. During that time not once did he have a seminar on preaching, or prayer or discipleship or evangelism. Instead, his training and equipping of his disciples seemed to be heavy on the following elements:
He lived with them. (Woke, ate, walked, rested, slept—everything.) The opportunity for long term impact in such a context is immense. Why are retreats and camps and mission trips so effective? Answer: When you are with people 24/7 all the junk or internal depth of your life comes out. Jesus’ boys saw the reality of his walk with God and the result was an intoxicating desire to follow him.
He conversed with them. We see snippets of this in the gospels but couple your imagination with the Hebraic teaching that most likely was the backdrop of Jesus’ model, namely Deut. 6:4-9. If Jesus is following the model of Deuteronomy with his disciples–sitting in a house, when they walked along the way, when they lay down at night, when they rise in the morning and talking theology and kingdom–wow–they got one great theological education.
He modeled for them. Jesus preached everywhere. He prayed all the time, sometimes all night. And everywhere he goes they are watching. I have learned a lot of things watching other people do stuff. There are things we can’t learn by watching, but there is a lot that we can.
He gave them responsibility. First it was simple: get the people to sit, collect baskets of bread, collect baskets of fish, go get food, but one day, seemingly out of the blue, he pairs up 72 of his followers and sends them out to do what they had seen him do. Stunning!
He left them. He entrusted the ministry to them and sent the Holy Spirit to empower them. Men and women never really take full responsibility for delegated authority until the delegator leaves. The baton had to be passed and it was passed by Jesus leaving. He continued his work of intercession at the Father’s side, but he left a model for us to follow.
There is more that I would like to develop but I am away from the office and my laptop keyboard is malfunctioning and making it difficult to write. Maybe that is enough to get us thinking.
© Copyright Marty Schoenleber, Jr. 2010