A couple of years ago, I was part of a ministry organization where we were taught a lot of good things. There’s one thing however I used to question then and still do, of which I am slowly beginning to get some illumination, discipleship. At that time we believed that the pattern used in the organization to train believers for the work of God was after the ministry of Jesus Christ while He was on earth training His disciples.
My question lay mostly in the fact that while we were with our trainers only during meetings, Jesus was with His disciples almost all the times. The disciples had the opportunity to observe His way of life as they seemed to be together always – they all had to leave their occupations even their families to follow Him.
In my attempt to answer my question, I could explain away that the disciples’ time was different from our time, but still the question lingered back somewhere.
“...I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.” (John 14:18)
“…It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you…” (John 16:7)
This promise of Jesus to His disciples is true, and has been fulfilled since He left the earth physically till today. Jesus ministry of discipling His followers continues even more intimately through His promised indwelling Spirit.
When I look at discipleship as being done by Jesus Himself, the question of pattern is resolved because the Holy Spirit is present in the disciple at all times. Part of the discipling includes learning to listen and respond appropriately to His teachings which should improve as the disciple is exercised in it.
“….None of them shall teach his neighbor, and none his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them.….” (Heb 8:11)
“…But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him.…” (1John 2:27.)
What a glorious ministry pattern Christ has in discipling us. I think that the best our individual or organizational ministries should do in this regard is be pattered after people like John, Paul, and others we read about in the scriptures;
“…..all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me…”(Luke 24:44)
“…..He must increase, but I must decrease.….” (Jn 3:30)
“…..Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?..” (1Cor 1:13)
Jesus Christ is the object and means of all ministry and we are successful in this regards to the extent we point those we seek to disciple to Him for;
“ ….This Jesus whom I preach to you is the Christ.….” (Acts 17:3) and
“….when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.…” (2Cor 3:16)
May our eyes may be opened to His willingness and sufficiency in shepherding His own.