Discipleship Always has a Name

Discipleship is not an abstract concept nor is it a program of the church. Discipleship is a particular kind of relationship with a unique spiritual purpose. Discipleship is the source out of which the Church emerges.

Discipleship always has a name.

JesusDoorThe first name of Discipleship is always Jesus. Jesus is God offering to each person the particular kind of relationship that restores and renews life. Jesus offers a relationship that accomplishes God’s purpose – the redemption of every person and of all Creation.

PassionThe second name of Discipleship belongs to a member of the body of Christ. A member who is living out with Jesus a relationship that makes them an instrument of the divine purpose. That purpose points them toward other people who Jesus is seeking to bring closer to Him.

Pastor NetworkingThe given name of Discipleship is a person to whom Jesus offers his love and who needs a member of the body of Christ to accompany them. That member of the body accompanies them as they draw closer to Jesus and is an instrument by which God’s grace is made known.

 

Discipleship always has a name.

If the church is to restore its connection to the divine purpose, we need to ask the courageous question relentlessly:

“Who has been drawn closer to Jesus by what we have done as a church today?” This question is always properly answered with a name.

A corollary question is equally powerful:

“Who has begun the discipleship journey with Jesus by what we have done as a church today?”

Unless we know the names of the disciples who are beginning and who are growing in that purposeful relationship with Jesus, what we are doing is something other than making disciples. What we are doing something other than being the church.

A number is not a name.

We may have 80 people who come to the fish fry and raise $800 to help pay the budget, but unless we are able to answer with a name the question “Who was drawn closer to Jesus by what we did today?” then we have been a restaurant, not the body of Christ.

We may have 75 people or 750 people or 7,500 people who attend worship this Sunday but unless we are able to answer with a name the question “Who was drawn closer to Jesus by what we did today?” then we have practiced event promotion rather than discipleship.

How do we actually practice discipleship?

We know the name of a person entrusted to us by God to help join them to the body of Christ. We think and pray about not just our own life of prayer, persistent presence, generosity, service and witness, but also this named beloved’s purposeful relationship with Jesus and the body of Christ. We look patiently, gracefully, lovingly and humbly for opportunities to acknowledge the ways that Jesus is accompanying them in the journey of life.

Discipleship always has a name.

What is yours?

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