In last week’s “Facts” we discussed the importance of one-on-one discipleship, coupled with a healthy blend of exposing our disciple(s) to The Body of Christ. The church. The Christian community.
We continue on the second point:
Picture a family clan settling into the mid-west of America around 1850. Because life is difficult on the plains, everyone had to pull together to survive. The members of each family possess different skills and strengths they lend to the other families in the clan. Together they make a beautiful collage of harmonious accomplishment, leading them toward prosperity and a rich life together. Living life on those mid-western plains in a pioneering environment without the community could well spell defeat and even death. So it is with the Body of Christ and the maturation process.
Another interesting aspect of living and ministering in community is the character development that occurs in me as I rub shoulders with people who are different from me. Perhaps I feel I have little in common with them. And frankly, some of them rub me the wrong way! But as I choose to love and accept them, and do life together with them, I am being transformed into Christlikeness. How relevant is Paul’s admonition:
“ Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity ” (Col. 3:13, 14).
If the person I am discipling gets his input exclusively from me in the discipling process, without the balancing effect of other members of the body of Christ, he runs the risk of not only absorbing my strengths, but also imitating my weaknesses.
We also see this team effort at the leadership level of the Body of Christ:
”It was[God]who gave [to the Body of Christ] some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up” (Eph. 4:11,12).
“I [Paul] planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow” (I Cor. 3:6, 7).
“ By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should be careful how he builds” (I Cor. 3:10). (See: Jn. 4:35-38)
CONCLUSION : In our discipling efforts lets seek a healthy blend between the one-on-one approach, coupled with significant engagement in the community: The body of Christ. The church. The Christian community.
This week, may you experience His grace, peace, and protection.
R. Dwight Hill