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  • Writer's pictureJoel Riehle

Do This ONE Thing

Part 2 / Discovering Discipleship / 101 Series

Discipleship is such a big concept. So big it was all-encompassing enough for the Son of God to simply use it for his last command. He used it to remind His trainees to of what they were being commissioned to accomplish. And yet even in that breakdown he still gave specifics like "teach them to obey" and "baptize" to help describe it.

I get it. It's like being charged with the building of the Empire State Building and being shown the blueprints for the electrical and plumbing, but 99% of people would rather see the entire 3D model.

By it's very nature, discipleship was intended to be an experiential rather than an academic pursuit.

Still... you're here. So let me give you an example. I'll use Mister Roger's Neighborhood

1. The show followed Fred Rogers around as he went about his day. And discipleship is nothing more or less than you sharing your every day life with a few people. (Assuming you try to live as Jesus would)

Also Fred Rogers in real life was a genuine guy. And the character he played on tv wasn't much different than his real self. I pray that the same will be said about me in all of my relationships and realms.

2. The show was raw and genuine. But did you know that every cardigan that Rogers wore on the show was knit by his mother? And despite being well produced and Rogers being described as a perfectionist by his co-workers, the show could still be a bit, well, uncut at times. Even for 70s TV.

One time, Rogers had a marine biologist on the show and wanted to let the viewers hear the sounds fish make. But when the microphone was in the water the sea creatures were unordinally quiet. The marine biologist got antsy and tried coaxing the fish and the taping went on awkwardly as they waited for the noises they wanted.

After the shoot, the crew figured Rogers would want to trim the clip but he said no. He wanted the kids to learn the value of patience. Honestly, how cool is that? He didn't just want to make it his word of the day or tell a story about patience, he wanted to model it. And even if it was uncomfortable, he made sure his viewers felt it.

3. The show just never quit. Whether you've watched just one episode or caught the marathon on twitch in June 2017, you know that Mister Rogers Neighborhood seems interminable.

In discipleship there is no shortcut through time-spent with someone. There's no secret beyond opening your world up to an outsider. And it doesn't have to all be 'quality' time. Whatever that is. There were many asinine conversations that Jesus' 12 disciples had that weren't recorded I'm sure.

If you're looking to be discipled or to disciple, just know that you're going to be giving up your time. Maybe it's sharing your family time or dragging people along during errands but a disciple needs to see who you are when you're disappointed. Hurt by something. Insulted by someone. Or when things don't go your way. They need to see the times when your first reaction is to pray. They need to see how you discipline your children and how you apologize to your wife. They should see it all because that is how they will learn best.

I was actually surprised at how few original things I did when I received my first full time youth ministry. I repeated so many of the patterns, sayings, philosophies and even activities as the youth ministers I had witnessed growing up. Without intentionally being discipled in youth ministry I was their protege.

Discipleship is that. But in every aspect of life. As Paul encourages us in 1 Corinthians 11, “imitate me (Paul) as I imitate Christ." Do that and you'll be doing discipleship.

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