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Discipleship is tough

I’ve been doing missions for 30 years now. My dream is that churches would be seized by a passion to raise up world changers from their midst. I’ve committed myself to the vision of raising up radically committed disciples. I used to get more excited by people praying the prayer of salvation. Bu…
By Seth Barnes

I’ve been doing missions for 30 years now. My dream is that churches would be seized by a passion to raise up world changers from their midst. I’ve committed myself to the vision of raising up radically committed disciples. I used to get more excited by people praying the prayer of salvation.
nick & boyBut I’ve seen that absent a plan for long-term discipleship, not much really changes. I’ve seen that unless God is given the opportunity to interrupt our human conversation, we not He, remain Lord of our lives.

Discipleship is tough, it requires lots and lots of time. In the photo at right, this little boy stood in front of Nick at an orphanage in India for 15 minutes.  Finally Nick noticed him.  They played together until they fell down exhausted in the dirt.

What a picture of discipleship! 

Churches don’t have this kind of time. They average maybe three hours of their congregants’ time a week and like the wife of a workaholic, guard it jealously. It’s not enough time to disciple people as Jesus did. To maximize the time they’re allocated, churches focus on the excellence of their programmatic activities.

2 Timothy 3:16 talks about the activities of a discipler: teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training. Of these, teaching is the only activity that lends itself to larger groups – the other three are best done individually. We are a nation that likes to “super size” stuff – make it bigger and better. Missions is discipleship done elsewhere. Super sizing was never Jesus’ model and it can’t be ours.
 
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P.S. Here’s what Nick said about his experience: “I was blessed to travel to India with AIM in the fall of last year. It
was an incredible blessing, a humbling time, and a joy to minister in
New Delhi and Kota. I was browsing through AIM’s website, stumbled upon
yours, and was humbled to find my picture in this article.

I tried to remember the boy’s name, and couldn’t for the life of me.
But soon enough I realized why I was unable to do so. When I met him,
one of the orphans told me he spoke neither Hindi nor English, so he
couldn’t talk with any of the others, and spent little time playing
with them.

I’m sure you’ve heard the often-quoted verse of St. Francis, “Preach
the gospel everyday, and if necessary, use words.” I found words were
useless then, but learned love not only gives birth to language, it
transcends language, and travels where words fail. I played with him for
most of the afternoon, eventually we sat down, and he crawled up on my
chest and fell asleep. I just thought I’d give the story behind the
picture I suppose. I pray you are blessed in your continued work with
AIM, and that God may work wonders in and through you and the people
you meet.”

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