Each week during the pandemic lockdown we have been using the phrase “plug in - stay connected”. But what does it mean to be connected?
In our world today Connection can look like so many things; from scripture however, we can see that the premise for connection is following Jesus. We become connected to Christ and his body as we follow and obey. In Matthew 4:19 Jesus says “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men”. Jesus calls his disciples to to follow him, and builds relationship with them before he asked them to feed a crowd, much less go out in his name preaching the gospel.
This pattern of connection to Jesus was followed by the early church, and they enjoyed exponential growth. Throughout the New Testament we see new believers called into relationship with Jesus, time invested by more mature believers into the discipleship of others, and then new disciples learning to serve others in the same way. This model of thinking and discipleship means that our church gatherings become a beautiful expression of our collective connection to Jesus - but not the sole connection itself. What Jesus expressly calls us to a deliberate, whole life and all of life journey of learning and growing; an essential part of that is then the investment into the lives of others. In this way discipleship is not about a program, but rather much more about our own deep and personal relationship with Jesus, followed by a deep investment into the lives of those around us as we make disciples of all nations, “baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything He has commanded (us)”. True Disciple-making is not superficial, but a deep transformative connection to God and others which will change the way we live and “do church”.
In Jesus the invitation becomes the definition! “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men”.
I have been fortunate enough to have been discipled on my Christian walk by some wonderful believers who embodied this call; they pulled me into community, encouraged me, guided me, challenged me and followed up with me - it has been, and continues to be a transformative experience. It is the reason I am so passionate about discipleship becoming the very heart of our church community. Every believer, by virtue of our baptism, has the potential to be discipled and become a disciple maker!
Jesus has called us into a relationship unlike anything we have ever known - are you ready to take the journey?
Grace & Peace
It seems at the moment that the entire world is bubbling with social unrest and protest after the horrendous killing of an American man at the hands of Police. Although this crime happened half a world away, our nation is grieving too; we are lamenting the violent actions of some in authority, as well as the cultural racism and systemic oppression which has been vividly unmasked.
I don’t think I need to prove the utter absurdity of the racist position. Racism (and it’s ugly “ism” cousins) in simple terms claim that some arbitrary biological or other attribute, (skin colour, ethnicity, gender or physical ability) rates some people as either inferior or superior. This thinking is the “Open Sesame” of social acceptance and privilege, rendering some in and some out. As a nation we would like to believe that we have grown beyond this, but racism is a problem entrenched in our society which we can no longer ignore or run away from. It has been an issue throughout history and it continues to be an issue today.
When Jesus commanded us to “go and make disciples” he didn’t finish with just so long as they look like you or speak like you: He said all nations! If you were not born Jewish, then like myself you are a beneficiary of this command, and of the Bible’s teaching that is no longer any segregation in Christ Jesus. In Christ we are all in the place of acceptance and privilege.
As His representatives (the Church), we have the opportunity to share how the life-changing message of the Gospel creates a healthy relationship with God and healthy relationships between people, no matter who they are. So, as we strive to be increasingly Christ like in thought word and deed, as we strive to live out the Great Commission, as we seek to make disciples of Jesus, we must address and shift the intrenched racism, classism and sexism inherent in our society; not to do so is simply disobedience to God.
The message of Jesus is clear; We all belong with God - no separation, no difference.
So let’s go out and make disciples of all nations!
Grace and Peace
Jen is an energetic and passionate disciple of Christ who loves to share Jesus with anyone who will listen!