This week, I would like to get back to square one with all this talk about bridges and such. Eight weeks ago, I sensed that this year would be a year of building bridges for the kingdom of God. With last week’s article, we talked about how Jesus and his cross are the only way into the kingdom. What, then, is the next step for those who have come across the bridge and are stepping off on the other side? Being a disciple. This is a role that never goes away for the Christian, but if it is not identified early on, the reason for being a Christian gets distorted or diffused the longer one is at it. (I believe that there are many “Christians” who are not disciples.) This is also true for those who have forgotten that this is what it means to be a Christian. In the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20) Jesus sent the disciples out to make disciples.
I am purposefully not using the word “discipleship.” That term carries a lot of baggage that I don’t feel is helpful to this discussion. Disciple means learner. Jesus taught his disciples along the way of life. To be a disciple of Jesus meant to be in relationship with him and be in community with him and the other disciples. The disciple learned from the master, Jesus, and from the other disciples. In essence, this has not changed for over 2000 years. We still have one master, Jesus, and we have a community of disciples. The integral part in all of this is that disciples stay disciples.
Here at VLC I think it is plain to see that Pastor Stuart and the other leaders try to keep the organizational structure pretty flat. Those who are identified as leaders (whether they recognize it or not) are simply disciples with experience and who are willing to encourage other disciples along the way. A leading disciple is always still a learner of the master, Jesus.
My prayer is that we would discover or rediscover our role as disciples of Jesus, and that as we help others across the bridge into the kingdom they too would understand that role for themselves.
Grace and peace,