This post is by Julian Rebera, Church Leader at New Life Church, Brighton.
Ok, so this is my first blog on the RTU web site, and I want to share my thoughts about estate discipleship in light of the Great Commission.
Actually, my thoughts are not really distinctive to estate discipleship – it’s just discipleship. But I think, on estates, only authentic discipleship has a chance of cutting the mustard.
Two points which have shaped my understanding of discipleship.
Point 1. Evangelism and the ‘Discipleship Process’.
Most people think of ‘discipleship’ as the process through which believers bring believers to maturity. But that falls short of Matthew 28:20, Jesus didn’t say, ‘Evangelise all nations and then make disciples of the converts’ as if ‘evangelism’ and ‘discipleship’ are two distinct processes. He said ‘Make disciples of all nations …’ which implies ‘evangelism’ is part of, not distinct from the discipleship process.
It follows then, that:
- If I am not evangelising, I am not being a disciple.
- If I am not teaching others to evangelise and helping them learn how to do it, I am neither being a disciple, nor making disciples.
Point 2. The distinctive of Christian discipleship.
The distinctive of Christian discipleship is not that we follow Jesus and His teachings rather than some other Rabbi. The distinctive is that we are to ‘teach to obey everything … [He]… commanded’ (Matthew 28:20). This implies, people (a) do not know Jesus’ teachings and so need to be taught them and (b) when they do know, they still need to ‘learn to obey’.
Consider Hudson Taylor. I reckon what made him a great missionary was his radical discipleship. For example, when he learned and understood the parable of the Faithful and Wise servant (Matthew 24:45-51) that he should always be ready to unashamedly give an account, he immediately went through his wardrobe and books etc. Anything he didn’t need, or could be better used by others he gave away. He learned to obey Jesus teaching. How many of us have books we will never read again, clothes we will not wear etc? In Romans 2:21 Paul asks, “You who teach others, do you teach yourself?”
We must teach people what obedience to all God’s commands actually looks like in our own lives and teach them ‘how to obey’ in their own lives.
Although we should make the most of the best discipleship resources available, in fact, the best or the worst audio/visual resource by far is that of our own lives. 2 Corinthians 3:2-3
Perhaps in another blog I’ll share how we try to work this stuff out in out church. What do you think?