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Accidential Discipleship

"Discipling others is the process by which a Christian with a life worth emulating commits himself for an extended period of time to a few individuals who have been won to Christ to aid and guide their growth to maturity and equip them to reproduce themselves in a third spiritual generation." Allen Hadidian

This has been the working definition of discipleship I've used since my days as a dorm prayer leader at Liberty University. It effectively sums up the process by which a person transfers what they've learned in their walk with God to another person. If you would ask me if discipleship can be done by accident I would tell you no. At least I wouldn't agree with the term 'accident' until recently.

My son Caleb will be 3 years old in about a month (July 20th- send cash). He is at a very curious stage right now and wants to know why people do what they do. If he can't explain what they are doing he will ask. Once he gets an answer he repeats it to assure himself that he's got this new concept.

The other day Caleb and I were driving around running errands. Kristy called and asked me to pick up some food for her. Caleb and I pulled up to a local Boston Market (she eats there-- I don't) and we ordered her some food.

As the lady and I exchanged pleasantries and the food I pull out of the drive thru. This is when something pretty cool happened.

My son said "Daddy, what the neighbor doin?"

"Neighbor?" Caleb repeated "Yes. What the neighbor doin?"

I said "Ohh, the lady back there?" He said "Yeah"

"The lady back there makes our food so we can take it to mommy." Satisfied, my son said "Ohh."

But I got to thinking. Come to think of it my son doesn't know the concept of 'stranger'. We've never told him to be fearful of strangers. In my son's mind we have taught him that people are our 'neighbors'. He understands that our community we have a lot of neighbors and from time to time we engage them in discussion or play with them.

From my sons point of view we have taught him that everyone he doesn't know is his neighbor.

Although I can't take credit for being intentional in teaching this point I am glad that my son has seen -- from the example of his mother and I -- that we hold this view towards people around us. I can only pray it will serve him well as he learns of his calling on this planet to love his neighbor.

He answered: “ ;‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

“You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”

But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” --Luke 10:27-29

While we can score one for the parents this time around I am cautious to consider what else he may be picking up that doesn't fit so neatly within our biblical framework. It's one of those lessons that makes you both proud and humble as a parent.

Are you discipling anyone? Even if its not "intentional" have you considered what people around you may be picking up about their own world view?

[Don't send me emails about my son not knowing the term 'stranger'. Thanks for your concern.]

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Monday, June 09, 2008


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