I’m still stuck on this thought.

I still remember the first time my brother and I were asked if we wanted to dedicate our lives to following Jesus. The rest of our lives, because, you know, that’s what six year olds were into. He certainly hadn’t just five minutes previous to that, told me that he wanted to grow up to be a butterfly.

“Go forth and make disciples.”

I guess I’m left wondering what it means to be a disciple and if convicting (read: coercing) people into repeating a prayer or signing a pledge card is what Jesus had in mind. I guess it’s the same mentality that has made church into a service about entertaining “believers”. I believe that we’ve gotten away from the idea of making disciples.

The best way for me to think about it is in terms of apprenticeship. I’m a student, Jesus is the teacher, and my goal is to become as much like him as possible. It sort of takes the doubt out of things. Many Christians spin their wheels doubting or being unable to tell whether or not they’re even a Christian (another outcome of simply making a profession of belief and being left to your own devices). When you reduce the spiritual life to making sure that you’re “in”, you’re left with people who wonder if they’ve made the final cut. So I focus on what I’m supposed to be about, not worrying about the “in” part, trusting that that will take care itself. You’re either apprenticing or you’re not.

The problem becomes how good a job am I doing in learning from Jesus how to lead my whole, real life. My life.

We have family, neighbors, jobs; in short, a life. A life that we are supposed to somehow live for Christ. And I’m still trying to figure our what that means and how to do it. I’m a writer and I’m a scientist. Those are every bit as “spiritual” as any religious thing that I do as a part of the church. We’re not all called to drop our “secular” jobs and go into full-time ministry, but rather to make all jobs a part of discipleship. (I put things in quotes because some people have funny ideas about what these words mean.)

Does it mean sitting in judgment of your co-workers and how they choose to live their lives? Does it mean making a show of your lunch time Bible reading and prayer time? Yeah well, here’s a novel thought: do your job well. All “religious activities” take second place to doing the job you do to the best of your ability. It becomes about integrating your life into the kingdom mission of being a blessing to the world. And broadens our definition of discipleship so that it is not restricted to those particular times of religious work or study.

Discipleship would involve a changed in three areas: belief (we turn to Christ, expressing our desire to see him as he is, not simply how he’s been represented to us), behavior (our lives become–slowly–transformed, centering our lives around living out the kingdom mission; putting feet–action–to our faith and knowledge), and belonging (we join a specific faith community).

Discipleship, simply defined, can be seen as a process of how we transform everything we do in order to “take on,” or becoming more like, Jesus. You figure out what it means for you to live and work in light of being a blessing to your neighbor and to the world. It takes time and in our culture’s need for immediate gratification, we’ve forgotten this.

Thirty seconds , indeed.