Monday, January 29, 2018

Writing Disciples


I am a student of Life. In all my explorations and inquiries, I have found that Life produces life. When something is healthy it reproduces. Within my years of leadership and ministry I have seen some amazing growth where life has sprung forth and inherent multiplicative growth occurs. I saw this as a young university student where incredible disciple making was occurring. People coming to know Christ. Growing in their faith. Telling others. A movement of people changing the world. At other times, in other settings I have seen that growth was sluggish if even life existed. It was in these places that a revival of hope, re-engagement with purpose, and authentic adjustments done together (with Christ as the core and a willingness to multiply) had the effect that life sprung forth again.

The church is existing and thriving in places today all over the world because Jesus and the apostles and the 1st century believers discipled each other, and faithful followers of Christ for the past 2000 years have done the same. This has meant countless generations of lives that have been impacted by God’s love and life expression have passed on what was gifted to them in others. What a joy to be carriers of eternal Life. What a wonder that this gets expressed through all our diverse cultures and talents. The awesome thing is that you too can get in on the pleasure and fulfillment of multiplying the life God has given you into others. 
In fact, Jesus makes a bold claim in Matthew 28 we can reach the world through this kind of multiplication. 
“Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (NLT)

The latent power of the Kingdom of God is simple and reproducible. Jesus strategy for growth for those who would be followers of Him is the intentional engaging of people to be empowered believers who then engage and empower others in a simple yet effective method of sharing the Life He has given, the Good News, and growing in discipleship, that continues to multiply across relationship networks. This reproduction happens in like manner how God orchestrated order and growth in His creation … after its own kind. As writers we can be encouraged that our discipling of others can occur out of the fertile soil of our own creativity.  As God has released His creative gift in you, so it also has the dynamic potential to be released in others through you.

This is what Jesus intended when He sent His disciples to make disciples. He expected them not only to be equipped and released in His gifts and creativity themselves, but to help equip and release others who would do the same. It is no wonder that this expression could be expressed through and with our writing gift. Equip and release others. The exciting thing about this is you just might raise up a generation of writers that are even more effective and creative and published and blessing the world with their craft than what you are.
Paul gives us a sober reminder that we are called to esteem one another in their gifts.
“”Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves”” Philippians 2:3

Jesus expected us to pass on the creative spark that is inherent in discipleship, and is activated by His Spirit mobilising us with the diverse creativity He loads us up with. Think about what God has given you: Imagination and the way to access and use it well, storytelling, practical talents, honed skills, editing, writing nuances, understanding of publishing, editing, typing, formatting, editing, character development, spell checking, editing, communicating, marketing, editing … you get the picture. There is probably a fire of passion in each of us that keeps us writing. There is hopefully a fire of God’s Love that keeps us humble and seeking His heart and passion to pass on the fire. 

Some have highlighted that this “passing on the fire” is a command, not option: When Jesus said, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth,” He was telling His disciples that He held the highest authority in the universe. Jesus is King of kings, and Lord of lords. As such He has commanded His church to make disciples. If we ignore or neglect this command, we are committing what may be considered high treason against the King of the universe. Jesus told us to go to people with His life.  There is an intentionality clause that is written into how we should live this act of discipleship.  We must be willing to get out of our comfort zone. This could mean we spend time with someone who is not a great writer yet, or someone who just needs encouragement and a helping hand, or even going to people who are possibly far from God with the only message that can save them. Sharing our lives, sharing our craft, sharing our faith.

Inside every follower of Jesus is the spark of multiplication and when that spark is “fanned into a flame,” it can ignite an entire culture of multiplication. Imagine the multiplication that would take place if everyone you raised up were also committed to doing the same. Effectively training others to train others. This is what Paul had in mind in 2 Timothy 2:2 – “And the things which you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others.” Imagine if every time you spent time with someone to encourage and release them in their God given ability, teaching them elements of writing and about their walk with Jesus that, those whom you taught caught this passion too and they also taught others what they were learning. What if the message and gift you have been given was not simply taught and learned, but passed on to others who passed it on to others?

Every disciple is called to make disciples.
Therefore every disciple is actually mandated to make disciples who are making disciples.

What an exciting prospect that God could use our craft not only to write about discipleship, but to actually create a multiplicative, life filled movement of writers who fill the world with His light and love .

Perhaps the simple question is this …..

Who are you mentoring or coaching or discipling to be the writers God has empowered them to be ?


"Do you not say, 'Four months more and then the harvest'? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest." John 4:35 (NIV).

God bless you as you grow in your own writing gift so that you can be blessed to be a blessing. 

Yours in the Harvest 

Shane


4 comments:

  1. Hi Shane. Many thanks for a comprehensive post about our task as disciples of Jesus. To multiple. Love the concept of discipleship which has been a base in my Christian life thanks to the wonderful work of YFC. I like how you translate it into our Christian writing life too. In fact as Christians anything we do needs to have such an emphasis I think. I like how you started saying 'Life begets life'. So true. Thanks for the reminder of what we are called to - not simply to write but to help other writers reach their potential too - some who will be far better than we are! Blessings and many thanks.

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  2. ‘Sharing our lives, sharing our craft, sharing our faith.’ Great words and a great challenge to mentor other writers, other disciples.

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  3. Interesting. Thank you. My book series is about life in the late 1st century. Your post reminded me that some people have contacted me and said how the book/s made them look to their faith.
    Even the later books in the series (from 3 onward) where the story takes over, the characters are still living their faith.
    Your post has encouraged me, and I needed that. I am very grateful. :)

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  4. Thanks Shane for your encouragement!

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