Disciples of Jesus are not just learners. They are apprentices.
I think in trying to make disciples, we focus too much effort on giving people more information about Jesus and his teachings, when really disciple making is more about transformation and mission. Of course, right thinking about Jesus is vital to right living. But good thinking does not necessarily lead to good living.
The Greeks gave us the gift of great ideas, but they didn't always convert their wisdom into reality.
Socrates, one of their most famous philosophers, criticized his own discipline this way.
"You give your disciples not truth, but only the semblance of truth; they will be hearers of many things and will have learned nothing; they will appear to be omniscient and will generally know nothing; they will be tiresome company, having the show of wisdom without the reality." Are we too philosophical in our disciple making approach? How do we ensure that disciplemaking is not just wisdom, but reality?
Here at Southlands we've distilled disciplemaking down to three essentials from Jesus' call to His first disciples.' "Follow me and I will make you fishers of men." Mark 4:17
We want them to be simple, memorable and transferrable.
1. Submission to Jesus' leadership. Follow me.
2. Transformation into Jesus' likeness. I will make you.
3. Commission to join Jesus' mission.I will make you fishers of men.
So making disciples is essentially about calling people to Jesus' leadership, likeness and mission.
Mission is where we get to do the stuff Jesus' did, not just learn about it. That is risky business. But for Jesus, it meant that disciplemaking continued and multiplied after He left.
It's a risk we simply have to take too in order to keep making disciples.
That's the heart behind Apprentice Sunday.
We'll have people leading and serving in various roles this Sunday the 5th of May, for the first time. They have not just been thrust into action at the last minute because we are desperate for a gap to be filled. They have been intentionally trained and have faithfully served behind the scenes for a while now, some for years. We have a 25 year old preacher who has given his last four years to studying God's word, and teaching it in small groups. He has done great theological research for our preaching series this past year too. We also have two worship leaders, leading for the first time at Southlands. One is 59 years old. The other is 18. That's a 41 year gap! It speaks of our desire to train apprentices across generations. We have people greeting, ushering, doing announcements and teaching in Children's Ministry for the first time too.
It's going to be a memorable Sunday for sure, and I have no doubt that you'll be amazed at the high quality of people coming through the ranks. Join us as the mission moves onwards and upwards.