Context of Discipleship: Family, Work and Society
When we encounter people who are engaged in discipleship ministries, we usually hear about programs and methods that are used in specific group or individual settings. While small group and one-on-one approaches to discipleship are certainly strategic aspects of spiritual nurturing, they are often mistaken for the whole. It is possible to be active in a ministry of discipleship and to completely overlook the most obvious opportunities that are right in front of us .
For instance, it is an occupational hazard of youth workers to disciple other people’s children and to overlook their own. Those who are married, for example, would do well to see their marriage as a mutual disciplining relationship. It should not be surprising that among couples who pray and read the Scriptures together on a consistent basis, the divorce rate is minimal. When husbands take the initiative in spiritually nurturing their wives in a gentle and supportive way, they foster an environment in which spiritual oneness grows and enhances psychological and physical oneness.
Similarly, we should view the parent-child relationship as another primary context of discipleship. When parents model what it is to love and walk with Jesus, they develop an authenticity that gives them authority and credibility when they teach and train their children. The spiritual nurturing of children should not be left to spontaneous moments; it is better to see this as an intentional process that is energized by a desire that our children come to love Jesus even more than they love us.
When we keep an eye open for discipleship opportunities, we will discover these not only in our marriage and parenting relationships, but also in our friendships and our relationships at work. We must avoid the common error of separating our vocation and our ministry. Our work provides us with a sphere of influence and interaction, and the cultivation of a godly, wise, and winsome character can open doors of personal ministry as ambassadors of Christ. Similarly, our friendships take on a new dimension when we perceive them as a context in which we love and serve people with eternal purposes at heart.
Society is also a potential arena for nurturing spirituality when we recognize a specific burden to be active in the world as a calling to express the love and mercy of Christ to those who are in need. Responsive action in the present moment requires a willingness to be sensitive and open to daily opportunities we might otherwise pass over.
Taken from Ken Boa’s Handbook to Spiritual Growth
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