Disciples DisciplesDisciples Make Disciples
The first thing Jesus commands us to do is to GO! Jesus did not say, “build it, and they will come.” Instead, as ones who are commissioned by Jesus, we are sent to go to our neighbors both locally and globally. The very definition of being ones who are sent requires us to GO out-side of our walls to reach other with the good news of Jesus Christ. Jesus also reminds us that when we go, we do so with the authority that he was given and that now he has given us. In addition to going, Jesus also commands and commissions us to MAKE DISCIPLES. They key to making a disciple is that we must first BE a disciple. Only faithful disciples can make disciples. So first, we must understand what it truly means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. A disciple is one who accepts and spreads the teaching of another. Therefore, a disciple of Jesus Christ accepts and spreads the teachings of Jesus.
Remember, disciples make disciples. Therefore the only way to nur-ture others in their faithful discipleship is if we ourselves are faithful disciples. However, our faithful discipleship also relates to how we live and are seen as a church within the community including how we uti-lize the resources of the church such as our members, our finances, and our facilities.
Paragraphs 135-137 of The Book of Discipline state that our call to Christian discipleship is marked by and interdependent and interactive relationship with God (which is our privilege) and our relationship with Christ through ministry in the world (which is our obligation). For this to happen, paragraph 136 says:
These require careful and intentional nurture for the disciple to come to maturity in the Christian life and to engage fully in the ministry of all Christians.
In other words, to be a disciple and to make disciples requires an ongo-ing commitment to be nurtured and to nurture others, to continue our own spiritual growth and to ensure the spiritual growth of others. This is never fully accomplished and we are not “done yet” until we have all reached Christian perfection.
To become a faithful disciple and to make disciples, we also must en-sure that we are guiding and nurturing people along a Christian jour-ney that leads to faithful witness in the world. Initiation into the Chris-tian faith begins with BAPTISM. Therefore, Jesus commissions us to BAPTIZE in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
This article is an excerpt from Choosing the Faithful Path by Beth M. Crissman and Nancy B. Rankin