Take It Personal: Part 3 - Disciples
This is post 3 of 3 and I was very intentional about placing this section third. I think the other two are so important and need to be addressed before getting into this. Too many times we look at discipleship or even ministry as something that is exclusive to inside the church. That being said, I encourage you to spend some time seeking God on the first two blogs before diving into this third one. You can CLICK HERE FOR PART 1 or CLICK HERE FOR PART 2.
Take Your Disciples Personal
If we really stop and look in scripture at what discipleship is I think it may surprise some people. We tend to think of discipleship as a teacher-student relationship and while that is partly true, it is also a misconception. Discipleship is a baptism and I do not mean by water but literally the idea of immersion. Jesus had his twelve that learned from him by observing and doing with him, not just sitting and listening to lectures or sermons. They did hear and witness some amazing things but it was not long before Jesus was calling them to do also.
If we stop and process that a little bit many would have to admit that their “discipleship” relationships do not look much like this. To walk that tightly and in step with another person is mind boggling to most. It really is a scary concept. You would have to be willing to let someone know you well. They would know your heartbeat, your struggles, and maybe even things you would not want others to know. On top of that you would know those things about them as well. What you end up having is not as much a leader-follower relationship but one of two people figuring out life together. Typically one is just a step or two ahead of the other. This, of course, like just about everything else has no formulas. There are no blanket statements that cover here to make this work. As a student pastor, this has to look different with my students than with other adults I walk with. The idea is still the same, it just means it may have to start on a different level than you perhaps thought.
This model or lifestyle is tough. It is emotionally taxing and can cause a lot of heartache. Discipleship is messy, there is no way around that. No matter how much you invest yourself in or do life with someone you will find yourself disappointed or hurt at some point and they will in you as well. There has been numerous times I have found myself crying over a student or young adult that I have discipled. It has not ever been because they went off the deep end or gone crazy. Many times it is because I want the best for them or maybe they are hurting so my heart hurts with them. If you have ever been in a close relationship of any kind you know exactly what that is like. The desire here is to be so emotionally and spiritually invested in someone that their outcome could affect yours.
To take someone that personal is tough but very rewarding. I am seeing some that I have walked with living out their lives as young adults. I am seeing them serving Christ in different capacities like on staff at camps and leading worship. Our discipleship relationship has not ended, just grown with us and deepened as we walked. I am not really sure there is a time that can define the end of a discipleship relationship. I think to be truly that invested in someone would cause a relationship to go a lifetime even though it would look different as you both got older. Even as I write this, it brings a smile to my face and great joy to my heart thinking about those dear friends that have allowed me to do life in that way with them.
My hope and prayer through these blogs is to give you some thoughts to process but more than that I want to give you permission to take things personally. To live out a very real life that God has given you in a real way, with real people. It is worth it.