Discipleship Is BOTH Formational AND Missional

When I talk about cruciform discipleship (also here), the concepts in this article from Mark Roberts are part of what I’m talking about.  Here are a couple of excerpts, but be sure to click through to read the rest:

What is the substance of the disciple’s job description? It has three elements, according to Mark’s description:

1. Be with Jesus.
2. Proclaim the message (of the kingdom of God).
3. Have authority to cast out demons.

Two of these elements are missional: proclaiming and casting out demons. One is essentially relational and formational: being with Jesus.

Mark is spelling out here what would have been intuitive to Jews at the time of Jesus. Disciples were apprentices who learned in relationship with a master. There was no learning apart from relationship, no growth in mastery except as passed on personally from the master to the disciple. So it was for those who would follow Jesus. They would learn to participate in his mission as they were with him…

A missional church isn’t just, or even mainly, a church that does outreach programs. Rather, it is a church that is bound together by the Spirit as a community of discipleship. Members are related first to God and then to each other in Christ. These relationships, when rightly understood, are not just for the benefit of those who enjoy them. They are also a primary platform for mission. Disciples in relationship with each other reach out to draw others into the community of disciples. That’s what Christian mission is all about.

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