Sky Links, 9-15-18


What is discipleship?
Jesus didn't invent the concept of being a disciple. The rabbis of Jesus' time undertook students and followers in a "follow, listen, imitate" relationship as a typical form of rabbinic training. John the Baptist had disciples. The graduate seminar was replaced with meals together, weeks on mission, and hundreds of hours of conversation. Disciples in Judaism were not learning three hours a week. It was a life-consuming, life-transforming vocation.
...Discipleship with Jesus was crucially focused around coming to understand Jesus himself. The midterm exam was not "tell me what you've learned about the kingdom," but "who do you say that I am?" This reflects the primary course material in Jesus' brand of discipleship: Have you come to grips with what it means that God has come to you?
...The contemporary model of the pastor is, on the one hand, the entrepreneur, the "vision caster," and the likable, unifying motivator. For others it is the ideal of the "Edwardsian" pastor, spending hours alone in his study to emerge on Sundays preaching sermons with irresistible theology. What about what Bill Hull called the "Disciple Making Pastor"? The Epistles and the Book of Acts show leaders taking intense interest in the process of the behavioral/devotional formation of their converts. Paul's own methods reveal an intense concern for discipleship using the methods of Jesus, investing hours, months, and years in developing relationships that allowed him to say "follow me as I follow Christ" and to use himself as a living illustration of applied Christianity.
Contemporary church life seems designed to create a kind of Christian who looks to the church itself for information, motivation, and direction. If the church can produce its own brand of disciples, then it has done its job. But are church programs imitating the discipleship we see in the Gospels, or are they redefining discipleship into church-sponsored activities?
Discipleship Isn't What You Think It Is -Michael Spencer




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Photo Credit: Spacebridge by longobord C 

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