When I am a disciple of Jesus doing what a disciple does, I am then, by definition, living missionally. (See the previous blog post from September 15.)
Jesus is our missional God. When I have taken up His teachings and lifestyle and am recognizing and responding to Him in my daily life, that's missional living with our missional God.
So how do we get there?
I have found that if we take up certain practices, we put ourselves into position both to be discipled by Jesus and to live missionally, that is, to recognize and respond to what He is already doing in the lives of people around us.
Having said that, however, I have learned the hard way that if a process is complicated it will not last. If it is overly acedemic, it becomes something only for the learned. If it requires months (years) of classes before we can start to participate in the mission of Jesus, people drop out. If it requires being at the church building on a certain day at a certain time, we intentionally but automatically exclude many people who cannot get to our location, at our time.
These realities forced me to refine a process that is simple and sustainable, that is not dependent on textbooks or extended teaching by experts, that is located where people already are living and within the rhythms of life that are already in play. And, perhaps most importantly, a process that puts regular folks like us into position to see Jesus at work right away and begin to respond to Him. (We don't have to sit on the bench week after week. We can get into the game!)
And it all begins with keeping it SIMPLE. Remember the acronym K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple... Sweetcakes).
In Dwelling 1:14 we focus on five simple practices that put us into positoin to recognize Jesus at work and respond to Him.
- Seeking first the Kingdom of God (watching for Jesus at work in us and around us)
- Receiving teaching from Jesus (listening to Him in His Word)
- Engaging in conversation with people who are outside our family of faith (connecting with people unconnected with Jesus)
- Coming alongside people to bless them (fun and service)
- Ministering in prayer (bringing the Kingdom to people open to receiving it)
These practices are not exhaustive, but if I am watching for opportunities to put these five simple activities into practice every day, I am in a much better position to recognize Jesus at work and begin to respond to Him than if I do not.
It is also important to note that I may not have opportunity to put all five of these things into practice every day. However, it is my mindset to put myself into position to be able to recognize and respond to Jesus whenever His timing is fulfilled. In other words, these practices postion me to be ready when He does press near!
Finally, in practicing these activities, don't see them as a new legalism. We don't put these things into practice to prove we are good boys or good girls. We put them into practice so that we are positioned to see Jesus at work and to join Him. When we engage these practices, we are engaging Jesus and the Kingdom of God becomes tangible to people around us. So, this is not about keeping rules or being a good boy. This is about getting off the bench and getting into the game!
So those are the five practices. In Dwelling 1:14 we then help people who live near each other to regularly come together to support each other in this new lifestyle. They come together not for Bible Study (that is important, but that's a different setting). Not for fellowship or care (that happens because we are together, but is not the primary focus of the gathering). They come together to support each other in putting these five activities into practice.
How does that happen? By giving each other the opportunity to tell our Kingdom stories. More on that next time.
For today, what is your discipleship process and is it producing disciples according to Jesus? Is it simple? Does it position people to get in the game right away? Is the emphasis on being a good boy or being in position to recognize and respond to Jesus?