Chris and one of his disciples (who is an instructor with the local mountaineers club) took a weekend trip to Sky Pilot Mountain in Montana. It was a quick, but grueling trip, filled with adventure, danger, pain, and memories. Neither guy was ready for the ten plus hours of hiking required to get to or back from their destination, so they returned exhausted, but glad to have gone. We’re glad to have our man home, but not as glad as he is to be home. And I’m confident that they will both look back on the experience fondly, once they recover and the intensity of the experience has faded from their memory. (I think it Gary Smaller who said the difference between a bad experience and a good experience about six weeks).
What does a backpacking trip have to do with helping make sure everyone in Spokane knows someone who truly follows Jesus? Good question. Let me answer with a question; what did Jesus did with His disciples? How did He spend His three years of earthly ministry? It certainly wasn’t sitting around the temple reading and discussing the Torah. Jesus shared life with His disciples. They ate, slept, drank, and irritated the Pharisees together. They shared joys and sorrows, amazing successes and (to human eyes) unparalleled defeats. They climbed at least one mountain (the Sermon on the Mount was on a “mountain,” right?). They shared life; the good, the bad, and the ugly.
It seems that discipleship is a hot topic right now. Books on the topic abound; bookstore shelves and websites are teeming with titles. None of this makes discipleship any easier, though. And it is not something that happens once a week for an hour or so. It happens best as you share life with someone else; the good, the bad, and the ugly. That is what Chris was doing on a mountain top in Montana; sharing life with one of the men God has called him to disciple. As we make disciples, as we share life with people, we are taking one more step towards seeing Spokane become a city of hope where everyone knows someone who truly follows Jesus.