Wednesday, 14 August 2013

dm: initiative



Disciple making involves several 'i's. If we truly believe that our calling as Christians is to both be a disciple of Jesus and to make disciples of others then it ought to affect the way we do life and the way do church. I'm passionate about us doing the Christian life together in a new way (which is really the oldest way around).

Several 'i's of disciple making are: initiative, inconvenience and intentional. Let's have a brief look at each one in turn:

Initiative

No one can live the Christian life for you and being a disciple is not a passive activity. By its very nature it involves an ongoing process of following and learning. Jesus told his followers to 'go and make disciples' and indicated the ongoing nature of being a disciple when he told them to do this by 'teaching them to obey all that I have commanded.' Teaching them implies an ongoing learning and applying and living out.

ed=dm means that 'ed' (every disciple) is to take initiative and demonstrate self-leadership both in the way that we are students of Jesus and in the way that we make students out of others.

We're not all expected to be entrepreneurial disciple makers who are forever coming up with fresh and exciting ways to help others grow in God but we are all supposed to use our God-given gifts to influence and invest in others, as part of the community of a local church. Phil Moore puts it like this:
Christian maturity isn’t measured by our talk but by our willingness to serve the needs of others. Straight to the heart of John, p260
Disciple making involves activity and it involves each one of us saying 'I'm going to take this call seriously'. It involves a praying, sharing, giving, attending, inviting and doing of life with other people. It involves us getting our diaries out and booking some things in. It involves us making the first move to spend time with others. It doesn't have to mean that we become busier with more activity only that we do the same activities in a new way.

Disciple making involves initiative taking. It involves some of the same stuff that motivated Jonathan to take on a Philistine garrison single-handedly on only a whim:
Jonathan said to the young man who carried his armour, “Come, let us go over to the garrison of these uncircumcised. It may be that the Lord will work for us, for nothing can hinder the Lord from saving by many or by few.”  1 Samuel 14:3
Taking initiative as disciples of Jesus means saying something similar to Jonathan here. It involves us saying 'it may be that the Lord will work for us (or through us)'.

I grew in God and stopped living a 'stuck' Christian life when a someone in the church I attended said to himself 'perhaps God will use me, maybe I've got something to offer' and he began encouraging me, challenging me and praying with me. My life changed because he took his call to be a disciple maker seriously.

How can you take initiative today to make disciples of those around you whether they're currently following Jesus or not? What can you do to love, lead and point people to Jesus? Disciple making begins the moment we start using our initiative and stop waiting for permission and stop waiting for someone to 'go first'.

ed=dm

Jez

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