As Jesus left this earth, he had a final message for his followers. He said “Go and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19). This call to herald the hope, joy and peace that faith in Jesus provides has been embraced by many for 2,000 years.
What does it mean to be a disciple? A disciple is someone who aims to be a fully devoted follower of Jesus.
The best images in Scripture are those discipleship moments which happen “on the way.” The roots of this approach are found in ancient Jewish prayers, like the Shema: “These words which I command you this day shall be upon your heart. And you shall teach them diligently to your children, and you shall speak of them when you’re sitting in your house, when you’re walking by the way, and when you’re lying down, and when you’re rising up.”
Discipleship simply means sharing our spiritual lives with others. We can share life-on-life moments, giving people insights into the way we understand our Divine purpose, the way we engage with other humans, and the deep hope we possess as believers. Think coaching, mentoring, guiding.
One of my greatest joys each week is meeting virtually with three African men, in three different time zones, to share life together in this way. One of those men is Samuel Odeke, our Chaplain at Hope Haven Rwanda.
This is a wonderful hybrid opportunity for me. First, one of my priorities is to ensure that we stay true to our core mission as an organization, which reflects a call to discipleship. To that end, I coach Chaplain Odeke as he leads a lunch prayer time for our faculty, teaches Bible classes to primary and secondary students, leads a Weekly Chapel each Wednesday, and oversees small group studies.
Secondly, engaging with others in discipleship fulfills my purpose. It is who I was created to be! Many have discipled me, and I am passing the baton to others in my sphere of influence. It is not only part of why I was hired, it is how I am wired. More than what I am paid to do, it is what I was made to do.
This isn’t about me. It is about each one of us fulfilling our purpose.
As followers of Jesus, our purpose always includes discipleship.
Oh, and one more thing: Immediately following the call to discipleship, Jesus’s final words, as recorded in Matthew 29:20 were “And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
What a comforting thought. The presence of God is something that humans have sought since the beginning of time. Jesus offers us that hope—now and forevermore! We are never alone. He is with us as we disciple others.
Are you willing to engage a friend in this “discipleship” journey?