Living Discipleship

Yes, I have a new look. I hope you like it. I promise not to change it…too much!

So it seems that this theme of discipleship is all the rage. I have been reading from any sources about the need for discipleship.

The thought for today – living discipleship.

What do I mean by that? Let me share an example with you: I grew up in a Christian home. My dad was a deacon at our church, my mom a deaconess. One of the tasks of the deaconesses was the preparation and cleanup of communion every first Sunday. Since I was attached to mom’s hip as a young girl, I followed her everywhere, including to the kitchen to handle communion duty. And of course I’d be put to work, especially for the cleanup. This was before disposable communion cups, which meant cleaning all those little cups in soap and water and drying them before storing them for the next communion Sunday.

This may seem like a small thing. But it was of great significance, a significance I am only now beginning to truly appreciate. It wasn’t just the act of filling communion cups and bread trays, or cleaning them after the fact – it was the exposure to the lives of the women who engaged in the activity. Being present to watch and listen to these women talk about life, and faith, and God was life-shaping to me. And although I didn’t come to saving faith until later in life, those lessons were carried with me, in seed form, up until that moment God opened my eyes to the beauty of His saving love for me.

Discipleship is lived. Yes, it is taught, but in a very different way than simply opening a book, reading, answering a few questions, and then getting together once a week or so to talk about it with other Christians. Don’t get me wrong – these things are greatly important and should happen. But if that is all there is to our “discipleship”, I believe we are missing half of the story.

When I lived in Georgia, I met three women who still have a special place in my heart: Lisa, Denise and Wylene. Lisa was my first small group leader, and spending time with her – both in small group and just in life – was simply wonderful. Her love for God and for people was infectious. Denise was also in that small group and was Lisa’s leader apprentice when I first started in the group. When I felt God tapping on my heart to become a small group leader, I became Denise’s apprentice when she launched her group. Denise and I worked closely together to pray and plan for our group and love on the women who came. It was time cherished deep in my heart. And then there was Wylene. She and her husband Dennis were my surrogate parents while I was in Georgia. Being so far away from home, it was a welcome breath of fresh air to go over to their house on the weekends, just to sit and talk, learn how to cook – and just be.

Being a baby Christian at the time, God placed these women in life at a strategic moment of need. In that time, my deep hunger for the Word grew, as did my new found interest in theology. But more than anything else, the relationships I had with these precious sisters taught what all that stuff looks like in real life. The faith was fleshed out for me through being a part of their lives, not just in ministry service, but day to day.

That’s what I mean by “living discipleship”. In coming days I’ll try to put some theological and biblical meat on these bones. I’ll leave it there for now.

Here are a few links to some great articles I’ve read in the last few days. They have helped me greatly in putting words to my thoughts on this subject:

The Exchange: Chasing Community

The Exchange: Better Discipleship – 5 Broken Views of Discipleship and How to Fix Them

The Exchange: The Right Culture for Community

Precept Blog: Discipleship Is Not a Program; It’s a Process!

Grace and peace…

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