When Jesus commissioned His disciples to “go and make disciples of all nations”, the disciples had been with Jesus for nearly 3 years. By that time the disciples had left their homes and families in order to spend nearly every minute of their lives with Jesus; they ate with him, travelled with him, watched and experienced the miracles of healing, raising the dead, calming the storms and feeding the multitudes. One could assume they had grown in spirituality and learnt of most spiritual truths by just being with Jesus. Jesus not only made them his closest disciples but they also experienced on a firsthand basis what it meant to be discipled.
Each and every one of us has received the same calling to be disciples. But what does being a disciple really mean? Mr. David Lee from the Mathetes Centre, Singapore held a 1 day seminar on discipleship in Colombo in order to explain this query. 17 participants including pastors and church workers attended this seminar which was held on 14th July 2014 at the NCEASL auditorium.
‘Mathetes’ is the Greek word for disciple. The aim of the Mathetes model is to help those following the programme become a disciple of Christ. At the outset of the seminar, Mr. Lee explained to the audience the attributes of a disciple. A disciple should be a ‘learner’ not just a hearer who forgets what he has learnt. A learner constantly seeks to learn and remembers what he has learnt. Also a disciple should continuously be immersed in God’s ‘Word’. Jesus himself confirms this “If you truly abide in My Word, then you are truly disciples of Mine”. In the role of a disciple there are many instances where the disciple needs to teach the Word of God and lead others to Christ. A disciple is characterised by his ‘love’ for others. In John 13:34-35 Jesus says “by this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love one for another…” Mr. Lee also explained that a disciple bears ‘fruit’ drawing examples from teachings of Jesus “This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples” (John 15:8). Jesus also emphasised that “Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple” (Luke 14: 26, 27, 33). A disciple should also have a commitment; he should be able to give up worldly possessions. Above all this, a disciple should be able to make disciples of others.
The lessons were made memorable with drama skits and activities. Mr. Lee together with three other representatives of the Mathetes Centre explained comprehensive approaches which were very simple yet practical.
“The sessions were very interesting and clearly and easily understood. We learnt effective tools and new approaches to reach out to those who do not know Christ” said a participant who usually follows other means of instruction to evangelise and reach out. “The presentations were really appealing and memorable. I really liked the new aspect to discipleship which I think is very practical in our context. I think this is an excellent way to reach out especially to the youth” added another participant who is actively involved in youth ministry. She was also very happy that she could meet up with others in ministry.
Following the successful 1 day seminar in Colombo, the Mathetes Centre would conduct a more extensive follow up seminar to a wider audience in the near future.