Where and how should discipleship take place?
In the pursuit of this word (discipleship) Churches are being challenged over how well they are doing in making followers of Christ. They are being questioned and rightly so as no one is above scrutiny. Some think the Church as we know it is over as we search for a more meaningful, accountable and effective discipleship.
Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them. (Matthew 5 v 1-2)
I don’t think the traditions of the Church need to be seen as out-dated and rejected, they simply need refreshing for a new generation. Let’s look at these 2 verses again.
Jesus begins to teach the disciples (not just the 12 but his followers up to that time) but he is aware of the crowds listening. The message has been ‘the Kingdom of heaven is near’ and his teaching will be to explain the kingdom to the disciples but it is in the context and the hearing of the crowds. Discipleship has always got to be lived out within the crowds of life.
But what fascinates me is that Jesus remains within the traditions of the Jewish faith and custom.
He follows Moses the teacher who ascended the mountain of Sinai.
He ‘sits’ in the tradition of the rabbis.
He teaches his disciples as the custom of the rabbi’s. (The difference was he never borrowed from other sources but had his own authority. Matthew 7:29)
Discipleship can be done within the traditions and customs of the church and Jesus shows us this. But of course we can always do better.