Discipleship Learnings From You

Discipleship Learnings From You

Of all of the things that I love about my role in the RMD, the thing I love the most is serving with all of you. I genuinely enjoy just being with you as friends, I love working together to accomplish the mission of God, and I greatly value the conversations that we get to have together. Over the last couple of months, I have had some great discussions with several of you regarding discipleship in the church. Since I believe that these conversations have produced a few thoughts that will be broadly encouraging and helpful to the District, I wanted to share a distillation of the highlights from these conversations. 

  1. Discipleship is a path to and with Jesus.  Unlike a one-and-done event, discipleship is a life-long process, therefore our approach and conversation must reflect this. While being a life-long process, however, it is also not merely a circuitous path through which we must first walk ourselves and then walk with others. Rather, it is a path to Jesus and with Jesus. Jesus Himself, and not the discipleship path, is the prize. 
  • Looking back is the only way to keep moving forward.  Like other seeming paradoxes in the Kingdom (e.g. generosity that releases blessing, serving that results in authority), the process of being conformed to the image of Christ can only occur as we take our eyes off our own spiritual formation and set them on the spiritual formation of others. Looking back in order to help others walk the road to and with Jesus is usually the only way to keep moving along the road yourself. Our discipleship strategies must recognize this and reflect it in their design.
  • The inherent tension between Spirit and Strategy.  There are some things in discipleship in which we have greater control (e.g. teaching someone how to read and interpret Scripture). Over other things, we have virtually no control (e.g. implanting a deep love for Jesus in their heart). Therefore, we have in the command to make disciples a tension. This is good. If there is no tension for you in this, you’re doing it wrong. Jesus was intentional. Paul was strategic. If you have no strategy or intentional plan, you’re not trying. On the other hand, if your plan will succeed without the Holy Spirit doing something supernatural, you need a new plan. Remember, the same Spirit that moved so mightily and (seemingly) spontaneously in the book of Acts also wrote the book of Proverbs.
  • Don’t give away the ending.  Jesus didn’t explain to Peter that he would die crucified on an upside down cross when He called him to follow. If He had included this in Peter’s calling, it’s likely that he have been too afraid to leave his nets. A calling like that would have represented a step of faith he wasn’t ready for. Similarly, you’re not required to lay out the entire discipleship process as you begin. Just call people to walk with you toward Jesus. The Holy Spirit will prepare them for what is ahead. 

So much more could be said about each of these items, yet I am trusting that the Lord will use this to stir your heart and mind as He did mine. I’m so grateful to be part of a group of people who are actively seeking to understand how to work with the Lord in these ways, and I am confident that the Lord is answering our prayers for guidance and anointing even as we ask Him. As always, I’m here to be a friend and help in any way that I can, so please feel free to reach out anytime if you want to chat more.

Together with you,

ctweedy@rmdcma.com or (406) 647-2764