Here is a recent post of mine entitled, “5 Reasons your youth ministry may never grow.” I was having some issues posting the text so I posted a link so that you could see my blog and other recent blog posts of mine. I would love to share some of my thoughts on your blog sometime. I have subscribed to yours, and have you in my reader. If you have any further questions about my ministry or blog, let me know.
A few weeks ago our students were at camp and they had a good bit of time to kill. Some of them caught a nap, some played cards and quite a few students were just hanging out and talking. However, one student caught my eye.
She was reading.
Now the act of reading didn’t catch my eye, rather it was WHAT she was reading grabbed my attention: The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Wow! That’s a very weighty work to read in one’s free time at camp. I started to think about when I read that book and the conviction that it brought about in my own life.
As I thought about that book and discipleship in general, I realized how the 21st century church is moving away from pursuing discipleship. Some churches have classes on Sunday or Wednesday night called “discipleship”, but they barely scratch the surface as to what it means to be a disciple of Christ. We desire a relationship with Christ that is easy to pursue and that can be molded to our schedule. We want all the benefits of being a child of God but none of the difficulties. We take God’s grace and Christ’s work on the cross and cheapen it. Bonhoeffer says it this way:
“Cheap grace is the grace we bestow on ourselves. Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession…. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate.”
As a church we want the true blessings of the discipleship that come in pursuing Christ: spiritual growth, brotherly/sisterly love, community, an overarching purpose in life, unstoppable joy and a peace that passes all understanding. Yet, as a disciple of Christ we are promised persecution, trials of our faith, personal shortcomings, unmet expectations and backstabbing by those we trusted the most. Just like Peter, we want to pursue Christ as we walked on the water…
…but sometimes we sink. We fail. We are let down by our spiritual mentors. That expectation of sinking steers us away from getting out of the boat, but our pursuit of Christ isn’t about our expectations and needs. Jesus says: ” Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.”
That is tough to swallow. Jesus says, “I want you to follow Me, but you have to be ready to die to be My follower.” We don’t want to have to let go of everything in our lives. We like a lot of things and people, but count the blessings that come to us in Christ. He becomes our purpose, hope, strength, love, passion, foundation, guiding force, wisdom, trust, truth, healer and salvation. That’s not a bad list of blessings.
So when I count the cost of discipleship….I should also count its blessings.
(this guest post was submitted by COLLIDE STUDENT MINISTRIES . Check them out!)