In Mark 3, we read about Jesus calling the twelve disciples. Verse 14 reads (emphasis added):

He appointed twelve that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach and to have authority to drive out demons.

In our understanding, that's the heart of discipleship: we want to be "with Jesus" and we want to be sent by Him.

Being "with Jesus" was anything but passive. It involved journeying with Him, talking with Him, eating with Him. Perhaps most importantly, it meant learning that Jesus's words were always true, even when they contradicted intuition, tradition or the disciples' perception of reality.

That's a journey we all want to be on too. In prayer and worship, we encounter God; when we break bread, we eat with Him. We study the Bible together, because that way we can help each other to avoid spiritual "blind spots", and make sure that we apply our "head learning" in our daily lives. We listen to the Holy Spirit as He speaks about our lives, our friends, and more. And when we find it hard to truly believe what God has said, we are there for each other to help each other find faith.

Then there's the sending aspect. We're clear that Jesus sent us to make disciples from all nations, but it can sometimes seem a lonely or difficult task. It doesn't have to be! Jesus sent His disciples out two by two, a pattern that Paul also adopted when he went to plant new churches. We don't simply reach out as individuals: we do it as a supportive community, spurring each other on, praying together, and on occasion challenging each other to step up.

And yes, we also believe that Jesus sends us out with authority to bring His Kingdom, in healing, prophecy, deliverance and more. Jesus entrusted this ministry to His disciples, and we believe that that trust has not been revoked! And just as Jesus's disciples needed to grow in character to be able to steward their authority well, so we believe that we need to grow and be discipled in godly character to be bringers of heaven on earth.

Lifelong discipleship has always been Jesus's call to those who follow Him. It's first and foremost about following Jesus, but it's also something best done together - that's why the OCC student community is one that values discipleship!

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Al McNicoll