I go to my local bank to make a deposit. I walk in, or drive through. Complete the deposit slip at the counter, hand it to the teller who transacts my business, hands me back slip and I walk out. Simple. Easy. Quick. I’m done.
More and more habitual actions are becoming simplified and easy like that. We expect it.
My friend, Jay, told me many years ago, “Wayne, you Baptists(that’s been a lot of my religious background) are good about reaching people thru evangelism and getting people to join your churches but once they do, you drop ’em, leaving feeling used and bewildered.” My heart was pierced. I knew it was true. Jay was right. We did that a lot, patting ourselves on the back. Check! Got another one! Transaction complete. Who’s next?
At that moment I realized I needed to change why I was evangelizing. Was it to gain another convert, another new member? Yes. Nothing wrong with that. Its what we ought to do. My intentions weren’t bad and devious, just incomplete in understanding the fuller heart of loving people to Jesus means continuing to give, love and live life with them for their relationship with Jesus and ours together. It would be the beginning point of what would become a deep, rich relationship with a brother or sister…that I get to be a part of and invest and share life with them and others, not the end. Discipleship isn’t only let me lead you to Christ and teach you but be a part of each others life, too.
Discipleship continues after new membership and new life in Jesus. Its the valuable rich privilege we get. Its simple to do, really it is,..its just not easy. Because they need our time. Ministry and discipleship can be messy. They have problems like me. Theirs might be messier and dirtier than mine and I’m not sure I want to get that involved. That’s what we say internally. You know, I don’t always have the answers and solutions to their need. I have some, not all. Its those areas where we feel uneasy, unchartered, untested,..that we both walk together with Jesus as He leads us both, and we learn and grow in Jesus together. Discipling is giving of ourselves. It is communal fellowship with heart/life connections with people, not a transactional task.