Paul said it this way, “And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others” (2 Timothy 2:2). This is Paul carrying on the commission that Jesus gave to the disciples recorded for us in Matthew 28, “As you go, make disciples of all nations baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit teaching them to obey everything I commanded you” (Rich’s rendition). The process of making disciples is an ongoing, as you go, journey. It happens formally in teaching times and small group Bible study times. It happens informally as we sit down for a meal together or hang out together in the ROC House or in coffee shop and talk about what Jesus is doing in us and what he is calling us to next. It happens when we are serving together at a prayer table offering prayer for others who do or do not know Jesus or sweating together as we do a service project for others.
Lately, we’ve been thinking about it in terms of rock climbing. When I first learned to climb, a friend showed us “the ropes” . . . literally. He talked with us about the basic knots we needed to know and the basic verbal commands we needed to learn and give. Our mentor challenged us to keep our eye on the big picture and not get overly distracted by the minute. After a rather brief “classroom” time we went climbing because the best way to learn how to climb is to climb.
I think this is where we might have made some mistakes as the church. Christian discipleship is about a life lived following Jesus in the ordinary day-to-day world. We all know this. But when we think about the practices that make up the “training” of a disciple too often they are primarily cerebral and passive. We are to live the Jesus life in the world; not compartmentalizing it to particular “religious” times during the week. The Spirit empowers us to live out God’s rule in the midst of daily existence. We are empowered to live holy lives in very unholy contexts actively engaging others with the grace of God and calling them to follow Jesus and to tell two friends who might tell two friends and so on and so on. Thanks for enabling the “and so on” here at OU!