Speaking of the Christian life, too many of us assume that it belongs to the elite, perfect people who knows all the right Sunday school answers.
In reality, when we look to Christ and his select disciples, they were bunch of ordinary messed up. Discipleship is for the rest of us – such as you and me. People who messed up, people who don’t have their act together, people who are dealing with problems.
For the church is a hospital for sinners, not a museum for saints.
However, we are called to be ambassadors, called out ones, send out, impact the world for Christ. How can these two truth collide together? What is a disciple who is ordinary yet radical? What is the end product of discipleship goal or purpose?
Before we do, let’s turn to few of the tension that we might face.
Radical Discipleship is about nothing more and nothing less than laying bare the roots of the gospel. The etymology of the term radical (for the Latin radix, “root”) is the best reason not to concede it to nostalgia. If we want to get to the root of anything we must be radical.
However in today’s context, “Radical” is a term that is offensive today as the use of the word “radical” is associated with ISIS. No one wants to be radical like ISIS.
The problem with talking about radical discipleship is that we have seen too few examples since the 1970s. We want to simply replicate a model that works in a mega church and hope it fits right into our context.
Majority of American Christianity are bought in the lie of the consumer gospel. We’ve witness now decades of church consumer who church shop and not engage in the Great Commission mandate.
Part of the problem is most pastors are delighted if their parishioners simply show up and measure their success based on numbers.
Radical discipleship usually begins in a small group context rather than success of numbers of one event. As we look to the life of Christ, rarely we see radical disciples to be birthed out of merely participating in and one hour Sunday morning worship service.
This is absolutely a counter-cultural model. This radically changes everything of how we think and howe we function as a church. For radical disciples are formed in a safe, small, intimate community of faith where a person’s life live out together. Acts 2:42 the word, “κοινωνία” (koinōnia: fellowship) is more the idea of shared spaced, but your burden is my burden, your joy is my joy, and your life is my life.
Radical discipleship takes place in a relational environment where people feel comfortable exploring their personal and spiritual issues and learning what it means to be a follower of Jesus.
Radical Discipleship is NOT a dope slogan, or a mobilizing soundbite, or a hip brand, or an ironic twitter handle.
I’m using the term in the context of the life of Jesus, a Christ-Centered Discipleship. Jesus model says, “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45) There’s nothing that could possibly be more radical than this model of laying down one’s own life for the sake of someone you don’t even know.
In this context, radical means Jesus with flesh on (John 1:14), to give a word, look, and a touch in the name of Jesus.
Jesus will never ask his disciples to to strap on a bomb and explode it the middle of a shopping mall. However, what if we metaphorically Christians had a gospel bomb within our lives and go explode in proclamation in the midst of darkness and let the transforming power of God penetrate the lives of each believer? Jesus longs to captivate and reshape every aspect of our lives to totally renew by the power of the gospel. That is absolutely radical!
Discipleship is so unarguably the central theme of the gospels.
Discipleship is simple, but Discipleship not easy.
It’s like losing weight. Two things I have to do; 1. Eat Healthy 2. Exercise Well. It’s simple, but it’s not easy. Success so often lies within one’s persistency. It is just that simple, but it doesn’t mean it’s easy.
Discipleship is just down-and-dirty, ugly, and real messy. We must not be afraid to be honest about the mess we call real life. People are sinners and they need a Savior.
Be patient with yourself. And be patient with the people who you serve alongside as you begin the ministry of making disciples.
In the midst of the hurricane of anxiety, may you look to Christ the Captain of your ship of your heart. In the midst of the cold hand of doubt that reminds of your past identity, may you turn to Jesus the Redeemer who is the anchor of your soul.
As a result, Jesus the Light of the World will calm and clear the raging sea of your life, so that you can continue walking on the path of discipleship path to be ordinary radicals.