It is easy to understand why Jesus assembled a crew of special disciples. Jesus needed help!
Enter, the Super Disciples!
These were not just average, I-like-the-sound-of-what-you-are-preaching, admirers. Jesus invited his apprentice good-news-broadcasters to come, follow me; become my students.
Fairly early in his ministry, they were called to receive basic training in Super Discipleship.
These selected followers saw it firsthand: God was up to something big! Here was a belief system that changed how you looked at everything! Transformed lives! And though they stumbled at times, Jesus’ disciples ended up doing an admirable job of spreading the good news about Christ, especially once they had the Holy Spirit.
Today Jesus still needs disciples to work at transforming the world. What about us?
Are we ho-hum fans, or are we Super-D disciples of Jesus?
It shouldn’t be a surprise that we need to work at becoming the latter.
How? It’s just like learning to play an instrument: we practice!
But how does one practice becoming this sort of committed disciple?
Here are some thoughts to ponder in forming a disciple-practice-plan:
- Gather your family — how about around the dinner table? Read some of the stories of Jesus “calling” his disciples – fishermen, a tax collector, and others. Note that sometimes eventual followers were skeptical at first. Are we allowed to wonder at the mystery of what God is up to? You bet!
- Next, discuss with your family what the difference is between an everyday follower and an in-it-for-the-long-run disciple like Peter and Matthew and James and John? How would it look if your family just “said” you were Jesus-followers vs. acted like you meant it? Would anything change or are you on that path now? Would you have to give something up? Is being a disciple of Christ one more thing to add to our to-do list? Or is it a new way of living?
- According to your definition of a “Super Disciple,” tell stories of when you encountered someone like that. What was it that made that person memorable? What could you emulate? Perhaps you could invite a voted-upon Super D to share a supper with you?
- Discuss which of these areas need your focus:
On-going Christian education (not just for the kids!)
Worshiping together as a family.
Celebrating Communion together as a family.
Regular Bible reading and prayer.
Participation in mission to others.
As United Methodist followers of Jesus’ teachings, we are guided in our quest to be Super Disciples by what is called “The General Rule of Discipleship” which is described in The Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church as: following Christ “through acts of compassion, justice, worship, and devotion under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.”
This means we practice being disciples by inward, life-giving means such as worship and “devotion” (prayer and Bible study), and by outward participation in God’s mission for the world: seeking justice and having compassion for others.
Pastor Nancy Lynn told us about this in a sermon she preached at FUMC on September 7, 2014, saying: “These four acts reflect that our journey of faith is personal as well as social, private as well as public, inward as well as outward. And to grow and be healthy, we need balance between them.”
A person who commits to practicing can become a Super Disciple. How are you practicing discipleship?
A Super Disciple! was altered from an image by Jam Zhang, who licensed this photo on Flickr under a Creative Commons License.
The Rule of Discipleship symbol © 2014, The General Board of Discipleship of The United Methodist Church. Used with permission.