I was teaching teenagers about discipleship today in lieu of Matthew 28 when Jesus said, "Go and make disciples of all nations…"
"Why don't we share our faith today with our friends?" I asked a group of teenagers today.
2. What if we don't have the right answers.
3. It feels so awkward.
4. I don't want to force my faith on someone else
You know, discipleship gets a bad rap in the world today. Words like Prostelization, or Conversion are words that people are afraid of when Christians come around. They fear people who preach so loud of being converted from what they believe to what we believe, and rightly so.
How many of us have been assaulted by someone who feels so strongly that we change our ideas to that of Jesus, and it turns into an argument?
I've been a part of organizations that go out and try to argue people into the faith.
I've seen people literally get so worked up about the arguments about the truth of Christianity, they barely represent the God I've come to know so clearly.
I've even watched pastors linger after a service with slow music playing so everyone has a chance to come forward to declare their new found belief in Jesus, on some kind of emotional whim.
I do believe we have an obligation to share our faith with people, because I believe when Jesus says, "the thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy, but I have come that they might have life, and life more abundantly" everyone would want that right?
Surely everyone would want to be a part of a faith where the creator of the Universe would consider them so much a part of His family, that He would offer the BEST of life.
Surely people want to experience a FULLNESS of life, right?
But discipleship…it's time to take a new look at it.
As I was teaching today, I remembered the mantra I try to live by when someone asks me to disciple them…
We live life WITH people, not AT them.
I don't spend a whole lot of time working on trying to look down my long nose of judgment at someone. I'd rather just live life with them, and allow the Holy Spirit to bring them to a saving knowledge of truth throught the moments that represent God to the world.
For sure we have to cross the conversation of faith at some point in our relationship, but what if….
What if discipleship became a place where people could live their lives out of the core of the SHEMA Jesus quoted when asked, "Teacher, Which is the Greatest Commandment?"
What if discipleship was about helping people become students of Jesus, rather than trying to rack up a list of people we convinced to think like us, and somehow made us feel good about our faith obligation?
What if discipleship was life on life, rather than some dull debate about 'who is right ethically?'
I remembered…Jesus only had 12 disciples, and He was God!
So what makes me think that I have to have a multitude of people declaring their faith because of me?
As I was teaching students today, I saw a twinkle in their eye.
I saw teenagers looking at me obviously thinking about the 'how's' of discipleship, instead of the normal blank stares of perceived future failure.
I saw kids who were willing to go back in their schools to give their friends a reason for the hope they have.
I can't wait to see how many take today's challenge seriously, and REAL FAITH will meet the halls of several high schools around the country.
They won't be forcing someone into a decision.
They won't be arguing someone into the faith.
They'll be living in a relationship with the Creator that shows others how much God loves them, and then…
Well, I think you get the point.
As we teach the Christian Worldview out here, and the value of Practical Apologetics, I want to make sure students understand the personal level of faith they can enjoy, while they can be confident to discuss their faith with people who are interested. That's how we can return to the true meaning of discipleship, and begin to make 'students' of Jesus, rather than throwing teenagers to the wolves and expecting them to conjure up some sort of false confidence.
Life together, that's what it's all about right?
Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And, the second is like it….Love your neighbor as yourself.
May the world see followers of Jesus as those who care so much about them, the thirst for truth is unquenchable.
May we see discipleship as a life on life endeavor, and not merely a short conversation of conversion.
May the God of the Universe be glorified as we attempt to share with the world the hope that is in us.