"Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age." Matthew 28:19-20
I'm sitting in church again, I guess church just inspires me. That's a good thing.
I am thinking a lot lately about what really matters when it comes to making disciples of Christ. Things like how much do you need to know before you can be called a disciple? How fast do you have to learn all the required information? Does it need to come in a specific order?
The scripture reading this morning was the great commission to make disciples and one word in particular jumped out at me. That word is "teaching". My wife is working on her masters in education right now so maybe I'm unusually sensitive to the concept of teaching but the following idea just hit me when that word was read.
Teaching is a process. That is evidenced by the fact that you have to go to school for 16 years or more before society will consider you “educated”. When you finish first grade you don't know enough to stop learning. Maybe by eighth grade you know enough to finish your education in the school of hard knocks and come out alright. Some people need college, some people don't. My point is not how much education it takes to be educated, the point is that it takes more then first grade.
Education is a process, it begins small and expands. Every new lesson builds on the previous. So when we are teaching people to be disciples we need to keep a couple things in mind. First, people are going to learn at different speeds, the school of Christ is a Montessori school. Second, and most important, it is a process, a process of change. Entering into The Way is a decision to submit oneself to the will of God, it is a journey it has a beginning but truly never ends.
Discipleship is not something that begins after your join the church, it is something that should begin as soon as a person hears that still small voice for the first time calling them to learn of Christ. The way we teach someone to be a disciple needs to not only allow for the process of change but emphasis that they are going to go through a process, it is going to take time and at times it may not be easy, but it will be worth it.