Develop Disciples to Serve—Equip Individuals for Christ’s Mission

16 07 2011

by Andrew Fox, British Isles Mission Centre

“Why don’t you travel home in Uncle Andrew’s car?” my sister, Amanda, said to my 9-year-old niece, Cara. Amanda then turned to me with a knowing smile and said, “She’s got some questions she wants to ask you.”

Shortly into the journey the first question came. “I’ll start with an easy one,” Cara said, “Can angels fly?”

I looked to my wife, Cheryl, sitting beside me in the passenger seat. She offered no help, so I mumbled some vague answer of my own. More questions followed, including, “Can you get married in heaven?” and “If we are all God’s children, are we as closely related to God as Jesus?”

I shared my personal beliefs to some of the questions. To others I responded, “I’m not sure; what do you think?” Finally Cara got to the end of her questions, and I breathed a sigh of relief.

Then she said, “Oh, I’ve got one more. What is God?”

I’ve thought a lot about that journey and Cara’s questions over recent weeks. The questions children ask as they ponder spiritual matters are important, and we should encourage them. We help children develop their discipleship as we engage them in discussion about the wonders of the world and its Creator. No question should be laughed off as trivial.

Our responses hopefully will help them to continue the journey of discipleship.

Jean, a loyal and dedicated member of the church for more than 50 years, never desired or expected to be a priesthood member. About two years ago I had the joyful experience of presenting Jean with a call to the office of priest. Following the first reaction of shock, she spent several weeks in prayer and discernment before contacting me to say, “If this is how God wants me to serve, then I am willing to accept.”

My heart leaped with joy.

Jean’s congregation has only a handful of members. Before her ordination, Jean’s husband, Roy, was the only active priesthood member.

Shortly after Jean’s ordination I visited in the homes of some members with Roy. Returning to Roy and Jean’s home we found Jean sitting at a table, surrounded by Bibles and other books.

“I’ll preach on Sunday, if it will help,” Jean said to Roy. I knew this was a leap of faith for Jean, one of the humblest people I know. This was stepping from her comfort zone to serve her husband, her congregation, and God.

A major goal of the mission initiatives is to “fulfill God’s ultimate vision as we help all ages deepen their discipleship.”

Cara and Jean are at very-different points in their life journeys of discipleship. I am thrilled to be part of a church that acknowledges the discipleship journeys of the young and not-so-young are of value and need to be supported and encouraged.


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