Posts Tagged ‘discipleship’

Today, I am at home sitting and reflecting. If I was a good Christian, I would be at church. But today, something deep inside me is gnawing away; my heart is heavy—weighed down with disappointments, disconnection, disillusionment. How vast the distance and dissonance between my head and my heart!

What I find discouraging is how little time we make for each other, and sadly, this is even true for those who call themselves disciples of Jesus. Which is strange, given that Jesus spent a lot of time with his disciples. As Eugene Peterson reminds us, “spirituality has to do with life, lived life”, and yet, how little our lives intersect with each other. For most Christians, going to church on Sunday to receive a dose of spiritual nourishment is their primary idea of what the Christian life entails. Sigh.

Peterson acknowledges that preaching and teaching are not to be discounted, but avers:

… there are other ways of using words that are just as important, if not as conspicuous: questions and conversations, comments and ruminations, counsel and suggestion. It is a quieter use of language and mostly takes place in times and places that are not set apart for religious discourse. It often conveys as much in what is not said as in what is … But conversation, as such, though honored by our ancestors, is much neglected today as a form of Christian discourse. If we are to be in touch with all the parts of our lives and all the dimensions of the Gospel, conversation requires equal billing (although not equal authority) with preaching and teaching. (The Wisdom of Each Other: A Conversation Between Spiritual Friends, pp. 19-21)

I would venture to say that conversations can carry equal authority as preaching and teaching, albeit in a different sense. After all, preaching and teaching are not the only forms of “Word ministries” that the Bible speaks of:

Preaching is not the only ministry of the word envisaged or mandated by Scripture. To isolate preaching from other ministries of the word or to claim that it is the sole ministry of the word is ‘to make preaching carry a load which it cannot bear …

… the New Testament expect[s] … all believers to be engaged in word-based ministries of encouragement and discipleship within the church family.

[There is a] close affinity and integral interrelationship between preaching and other ministries of the word.

Jonathan Griffiths, Preaching in the New Testament (NSBT 42); IVP, 2017.

WANTED: spiritual friends and conversation partners for the journey!

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