Our days are filled with routines; sleep, mornings, breakfast, kids to school, off to the gym, to work, meetings, to home, dinner, laundry, some TV, back to sleep and do it again. There are all kinds of rhythms tapping out a constant cadence of all that life is.
Most of us say we live life on the “go”– and there is nothing wrong with that. There are various paces to life taking us from one thing to the next. Jesus knew this. In what we call the Great Commission Matthew 28:18-20 ,we find these familiar words…
And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
This translation from the Greek could use a little help, especially with the word, “Go”. The imperative in this sentence is make disciples. That has been and always will be the task, the central mission of the church.Make disciples- That has been and always will be the task, the central mission of the church. Click To Tweet
The Go therefore phrase could be better translated as you are going. Jesus is not specifically telling us to go someplace to make disciples. Rather, he is telling us to make disciples as we are going about our daily routines. As I go about my day-to-day tasks, the engagements I have with people in the marketplace I am to carry this intention. These days I can’t imagine going somewhere without my cell-phone. I make sure it is charged and ready. In the same way, I need to be charged and ready to make disciples always and everywhere.
You see, making disciples is our primary job description as a follower of Jesus. We should step into this work naturally. It should be normal, routine, even expected of everyday.
In some ways we’ve made discipleship unnatural. We think it requires experts, scholars and theologians who will properly train someone in the faith. We think discipleship requires classes, tests and at the end you get a diploma and are a certified disciple. We never stop being discipled, for the follower of Jesus life is a constant exploration of all the wonders of Almighty God, His creation, His purposes. We discover everyday depths of His character, His attributes, our purpose and how we are to live as His children.
From the Anglican perspective that I was raised in I was taught to look at spirituality as a journey. In this adventure there are ups and downs, twists and turns, rivers to cross, mountains to climb, sunsets to behold. There are moments of utter strength and great strides and still other times that are frail, troublesome, risky and sobering. In all of this as I am going I am to be about the making disciples mission.
In every stride the promise of God, that He will be with us in all things. In the Valley of the Shadow of Death I will fear no evil, because you are with me (Psalm 23). For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:38-39). Even in the Great Commission we have this promise… And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” We could list dozens of other references to the promise of His presence. The reality is He is always with us wherever we go. He is with us, not just to bring us comfort but to equip and empower us to represent Him as we go about our daily lives.
This brings us to the task of Discipleship. As we are going, we are assured He is always with us. So we should be confident to strike up conversations, engage people with kindness and mercy, and offer hope. It is bringing light to the darkness so that people may see.
I enjoy telling people about the things I enjoy; college football, my family, the mountains of western North Carolina, a great cup of coffee, a vintage stringed instrument or even an occasional nicely-aged, distilled beverage. As I am going I often have these conversations. Wouldn’t it be natural then to tell people about the one who saved me, redeemed and reconciled me, forgave me and brought joy and purpose deep into the recesses of being? Talking about Jesus should be as natural as talking about anything we are passionate about.Talking about Jesus should be as natural as talking about anything we are passionate about. Click To Tweet
I see this at the core of Fresh Expressions- normalizing what the church has always done. Rather than relegating discipleship to a classroom in a church building we take it into the marketplace, the city square, the hospital wherever we go, as we are going.
There are plenty of examples of people who would agree; the woman at the well (John 4), the woman with the issue of blood (Luke 8) the blind, the lame, the lost, the broken even the dead. Jesus encountered all of these folks and more as He was going. As He went; lives were changed, healing, miracles, deliverance and more. And Jesus said we would do even greater things as we are going.
The Rev. Jon Davis PhD is an Episcopal Priest, church planter, teacher, worship leader. He is on staff with Fresh Expressions as a mission strategist and is launching some Fresh Expression gatherings through the Abbey Mission in a NE suburb of Orlando. firstname.lastname@example.org