As I have been doing more thinking and writing on the topic of discipleship, I am becoming more and more convinced that discipleship and mission go hand in hand. You can read a great post here, about their relationship.
I am also wondering that maybe part of the reason we don’t make disciples is because we aren’t on mission?
As mentioned in my last few posts, a great analogy that captures the heart of discipleship is that of an apprenticeship. A close walking along side someone as they teach, train and model what it takes to do what they do. In the pages of scripture we see Jesus doing exactly that with his disciples. And by in large, it doesn’t happen in a classroom setting. There are times of teaching where information gets based along, but most of the learning is hands on learning. In a sense, discipleship happens while mission is also happening. They are not separate from each other.
So, I guess the next question we have to ask ourselves is, where am I reaching out? In reading Luke 6v12-19 we see that Jesus has a three-dimensional approach to his ministry. Simply put, UP – IN – OUT.
12 One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God. 13 When morning came, he called his disciples to him and chose twelve of them, whom he also designated apostles: 14 Simon (whom he named Peter), his brother Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, 15Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Simon who was called the Zealot, 16Judas son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.
17 He went down with them and stood on a level place. A large crowd of his disciples was there and a great number of people from all over Judea, from Jerusalem, and from the coastal region around Tyre and Sidon, 18 who had come to hear him and to be healed of their diseases. Those troubled by impure spirits were cured, 19 and the people all tried to touch him, because power was coming from him and healing them all.
In this story we see Jesus doing three things:
1. Connecting with His Father in prayer through the night. (UP)
2. Calling His disciples to Himself to be with Him. (IN)
3. Coming down off the mountain and tending to the crowds. (OUT)
Now, notice what it says in v17, “He went down with them…” And what happens next? Outreach. Mission. Jesus takes his disciples to be with Him ‘in action.’ To make disciples without being on mission, or to be on mission with out intentionally making disciples falls short of the model that Jesus sets before us.
So again, I pose the question, where are you reaching out? And then two, who are you taking with you?