Wednesday Words is a weekly devotional based on that weeks lectionary reading. It is intended for personal devotion or to use with your student ministry as a bible study or devotional.
18th Sunday After Pentecost Year C
25 Now large crowds were traveling with him; and he turned and said to them,26 “Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple. 27 Whoever does not carry the cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. 28 For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not first sit down and estimate the cost, to see whether he has enough to complete it? 29 Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it will begin to ridicule him, 30 saying, ‘This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.’ 31 Or what king, going out to wage war against another king, will not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to oppose the one who comes against him with twenty thousand? 32 If he cannot, then, while the other is still far away, he sends a delegation and asks for the terms of peace. 33 So therefore, none of you can become my disciple if you do not give up all your possessions.
I am not sure that we are creating Disciples.
I believe that we are more concerned with making converts and less about helping students make informed decisions about what it really means to follow Jesus (which is a statement that I am not entirely sure I grasp to be honest)
I do not know if I know of ANY student ministries, including my own, that help students make informed decisions, count the cost and make preparations to follow Jesus.
In the Methodist world we talk about having a faith of the head and heart. This passage is putting a lot of emphasis on the head. There is almost a mathematical exercise that is placed on deciding to be a disciple of Jesus, I think this is an important nuance that we often miss.
Some will say, “But Stephen, we do confirmation in the mainline church which is the time where students “count the cost and make the decision on whether to confirm that faith”
In theory I would agree with you, but how many students do you know who really have a decision to make at the end of confirmation? How many confirmations have you seen that really lay out the “cost of discipleship”?
I think for most churches, not all, confirmation is a good rite of passage that parents tell their children they will do and the children acquiesce. Don’t get me wrong, I think this is good, but lets not mistake it for what it seems that Jesus is talking about in the Luke passage above.
In a church climate where numbers are “success” is such a player our SPRC’s, parents, ministers and professionals have told us directly and indirectly that unless our numbers are significant then we are not doing our jobs.
I actually agree with this in some ways. Jesus had crowds who were not his disciples, this is important to remember. We need to have crowds as well, often people in the crowd became some of Jesus’ most willing disciples.
My qualm is more with what we are doing with those who are constant when the crowd ebbs and wains?
I hope that we will be real with our students and not paint a pretty picture of the faith.
It is not pretty, I think it is tough and often times very unattractive.
But, it is something worth falling in love with and giving oneself to.
Let’s give our students the opportunity to fall in love with a faith that is not fit for a hallmark card and costs more than they have to give.