The purpose of evangelism and discipleship is to make Jesus Christ our Lord. While these terms involve two different steps, they are the same process. One does not take precedence over the other; both are required for the believer. Thusly, evangelism is more so a term that is engulfed over the magnitude of discipleship, as coming to know God is to follow him. Also, Jesus did not say to make Christians, or converts, but to “go and make disciples” (Matt. 28:19)! In this process of discipleship, one cannot be a disciple without becoming a sheep. The sheep follows the shepherd. While the shepherd Psalm is recognized for its individualized account of God, the irony exists in that the sheep doesn’t exist outside of a flock. The sheep is innocent, ignorant of any danger. and is in need of guidance, or else it will die. This is why it is in need of a shepherd, but it cannot be with the shepherd, if it is not with the flock. This unavoidable conclusion leads to another; the church only exists in the context of community and consequently, so does discipleship.
I have been to church twice this semester on my own, and I find myself never wanting. In the midst of those around me, I have a hard time seeing the shepherd. I approach my faith assuming I do not understand, and I am seeking God because he often hides his face from me. Yet in most Christian circles, I hear Christians talk clichés with glazed eyes. I believe that discipleship happens in the process of illumination. This imagery depicts a certain darkness that is only lifted by the faintness of light. The later presumes that everything is already illumined. The difference lies in the understanding of the self, and the understanding of God, both of which are shallowly depicted,...
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...ee the church rightly comes from the desire to be embraced and accepted, but if this is not the issue, what is? Concerning the church, I have placed more emphasis on what I don’t have than what I do have. While there are people that love me, I focus more on my inability to feel understood. In my pursuit of what I feel I do not have, I have deemed that the church is not enough; that I need more than the church has to offer. The funny thing is, I have reciprocal relationships at my church, and people invest in me. There is a church staff that lovingly embraces me, and I care deeply for people there. This Sunday, not unlike other Sundays, people pursued me, and cared enough to ask how I was. I wonder, then, if the ability to see the true church lies in the choosing of what to focus on. Both the good and the bad exists, but in the midst of all this, Christ is sufficient.
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