Interning with the senior high this summer has made me reflect on one word.  Discipleship.  Jesus made disciples.  He told his disciples to go and make other disciples.  When a man starts to follow Jesus, he is told he should find someone to disciple.  But what does that mean?

            Last year when I tried to lead an 8th grade small group, I found the boys were not often interested in what I had to say.  They were interested in kicking sand into a cloud of dust that blocked them from my view, blowing air horns when I talked, and turning their memory verse bookmarks into anything from aeronautical instruments to New Year’s Eve confetti.  How could I break through to them?

            The answer was easy but challenging.  I needed to step into their lives.  I went to one and then another one of their basketball games.  The tone changed in the small group and they started to listen and interact.  I needed to step into their lives, to see what they were passionate about, and to start to know who they were

            That time spilled over into this summer as they have gone into high school.  On a trip back from Colorado one of them asked me, “Larry, can we have small group tonight.”  I knew he was serious and I started to laugh and give thanks as we gathered and they led conversation discussing what changes they wanted to make and what they wanted to apply from experiencing God at camp.       

            Since a real faith is a practical faith and impacts those around thus, discipleship has meant leaving church for Bible study and getting something that will brighten someone’s day immediately after study.  It has meant accountability in setting goals- physical, social, and spiritual- each week.  It has meant pressing into the lives of students and seeing if and where there are areas they need to reconcile with a sibling or parent and to exhort them to do that.

            I could have talked about so much with the senior high ministry, from the garage sale where we raised over $4000, to the trip to Colorado where the power of the worship left several of the boys in tears, to the trip to New Orleans where strangers bought groceries for us in gratitude they had not been forgotten, to the service of students in anything from vacation Bible school to picking up trash at the Taste of Tippecanoe.  But as I review our work with them, discipleship, stepping into their lives, has been a crucial bridge to direct them on the Christian journey.

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