For years I used a discipleship curriculum that was process oriented. It was a series of little books that moved the student from basic matters to weightier subjects. I have had a few students that stayed the course and worked their way through every book. And it served them well as they moved forward in their faith. However, to a person, every person that completed the series of books worked alongside me in some capacity. They ate at my table, spent Saturday evenings with me, went visiting with me, assisted me in working for others, went to meetings with me, watched me parent my children and relate to my wife. They could do this because I (and my family) invited them in my life. I am hesitant to let everyone into my life this close. Hesitant because I do not trust everyone to the same degree. Some people are teachable, like-minded and eager to learn. Others are obstinate and spiritually fragile. This determines the degree to which one would benefit from such close proximity with me.
My willingness to allow them in is essential to my growth as a follower of Christ. It keeps me accountable by reminding me to be intentional about advancing the Gospel. To make disciples is to be a disciple--- Scripture affirms how critical Paul’s disciples were to his joy, refreshment and encouragement as he traveled an otherwise difficult path in life. Paul allowed them inside—they had full access to Paul’s mission, method, circumstances and attitudes. He could not have been more “laid bare.” Some of these even forsook or betrayed Paul such as Demas and others who drifted away when Paul became a liability to a favorable future for them. This is the course that Jesus established for us as well. Vulnerability to the point of being defrauded, misunderstood or betrayed. Let the sin be placed to another man’s charge but not ours as we walk according to good doctrine or rather the doctrine of a good God who has a favorable future in mind for His people. Others will know we believe in the goodness of God when they see us transcend maddening injustices and chaotic disappointments with joy, compassion and an aggressive missional mind concerning advancing the Gospel. Do we believe God is good and He has a good plan for His people? The disciplemaking question is: Do others believe that we believe God has a good plan for His people?
14 For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. 15 If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.[Heb 11:14-16 ESV]