As we strive in grow as missional disciples, it is interesting to see how Jesus did it. His methods are not what we would expect.
We see how, having called his first disciples to follow Him in his task of teaching about the Kingdom of Heaven, they see him simply engaging with people as he chats, teaches and performs miracles. When the crowds have gone they ask him what his words and actions mean. Jesus nurtures them into a deeper understanding with his answers.
He sends them out ahead of him. This is quite extraordinary! Let's think about this for a moment. How much did the disciples actually understand at this point? I think we can pretty much say - hardly anything! They have not yet witnessed his death, resurrection and ascension, nor experienced the Holy Spirit come upon them at Pentecost. In spite of knowing so little, he sends them out anyway.
The next question to ask ourselves is, ‘Could they do this better than he could?’ That question is even easier than the first one! The answer is no; absolutely no way!
So, why is Jesus sending out disciples who do not know much at all and cannot do what he's asking them to do as well as he could? This is where it gets very important - and it is important because it reveals Jesus' way of making disciples.
Jesus uses mission to catalyze our discipleship. To put it another way, Jesus knows we learn best by doing. We learn to live as Christians by living as Christians. We learn to be disciples by doing what disciples do, which is to share the Good News of the Kingdom of God in Word and Action.
This discipling model that Jesus uses, in which Mission is the catalyser, is at the heart of our understanding of how we grow as individuals and churches.
Jesus does this intentionally! Our discipleship must have an intentionality about it, too.