People don’t live as disciples because we don’t organize them around mission. Instead, we organize them around felt needs and demographics. Our disciple-making process is usually built around the absorbing of information and the establishing of relationships with other believers. That’s not necessarily a bad thing; but what we soon realize is that when we start with a focus on relationships we seldom get mission. When starting with mission, however, deep relationships seem to naturally follow.
Think about sport teams, military personnel, first responders and the like. They may not really know each other, often don’t even like each other, but because of the joint task at hand – the mission, they join together. Joining, they accomplish a goal beyond themselves and in the process form what are often life long bonds of friendship – but it starts with the mission, not the other way around.
In most church settings, when we get together everyone has their own little group, right? Infants go here, middle-schoolers go there, High Schoolers, and of course, we adults have to have our space. Then we start breaking it down even further. You’ve got Al and Peg Bundy – you know, Married – with Children (sorry), Newlyweds, Young Adults or (Gasp) Singles, and then whatever euphemism we choose for our AARP members. Everybody’s happy, right? Well, maybe, but at least we’re with people like ourselves, right?
This may make it a lot easier to “connect” but it’s not often that it turns our gaze outward. It’s not often that it leads to an inclination or bent towards those outside the group. Jesus on the other hand was all about those outside the group. Jesus didn’t break his life into sacred or secular cubby holes. Rather, he lived a life that was fully integrated. Therefore, to be one of his disciples is to be about those outside the group and the living of an integrated lifestyle.