I believe that I have an obligation to make disciples for Jesus. The Great Commission instructed Jesus' disciples to make disciples, baptize them, and teach them to obey everything He commanded (which included disciple making.) Those of us who consider ourselves followers of Jesus are called to help others become followers as well. As the Apostle Paul would say, "Follow me like I follow Jesus."
In a small group this past week, we had a great discussion about our part in this process. A common thread of concern over "our" qualifications to disciple came up. A few weeks ago I spoke with a lady who felt she was not a good enough example. This past week I heard from a gentleman that he didn't want to mess somebody else up. This was not just an excuse. He meant it.
Disciple making is, at its heart, introducing other people to Jesus and demonstrating what it means to follow Him. If we are followers, we have enough experience and expertise to show someone else how to do that. None of us are "perfect" followers, but frankly I don't know what that would look like anyway.
When I was a youth minister, we used to carpool our kids everywhere. The youth group was fairly large so we needed multiple vehicles. It was very common that we would lose a van or two occasionally. Even while the vehicles were lost, they were still trying to follow the lead car. Following is a process. We always wound up in the same place in the end whether the followers followed well or the leaders led poorly. In my 10 years of youth ministry, we always arrived at our destination. That is our goal in discipleship.
Perfection is not the standard for the leader of followers. Following is. As long as we are following Jesus, we can demonstrate what that looks like. In our good times and our bad, we show others what it is like to follow Jesus. He is the model of perfection; we are not and never will be.
I am sure that Peter told his story of following Jesus. I doubt that he left out the denials, ear cutting, drowning moments. All of our following is vitale information for those who follow behind us. They are living life just as we are, and chances are they will face the same struggles we do. They need our example (good and bad).
Finally, I realized as I was prepping for this weeks message that we are called to make followers not fully mature Christians. Making disciples entails helping others find their way in Jesus. The maturity process happens within community for sure, but that is not left solely to us. It happens with the help of God's Spirit living within us. When we make disciples, we are just pointing other searchers toward the one who can make their life complete. He will fill them with living water. He will make them like Himself. He will . . .
We just need to point the way.