Today in our three-author panel, authors R. E. Clark, Paul Juby, and myself offer our thoughts on discipleship, practicing faith, and serving as missionaries. I’m excited to post the Missionary section below and hopefully begin a discussion among readers. Please leave comments below and visit the other two authors’ blogs to read through the rest of the panel.
An obstacle to making followers of Jesus in America is America’s aversion to deep friendship. Sociologists Stewart and Bennett have observed:
Although Americans have numerous relationships that are marked by friendliness and informality, they only rarely form the kinds of deep and lasting friendships in which friends become mutually dependent upon each other.
God is relational. The insularly existence so natural to Americans is unnatural to God. Jesus came to earth and demonstrated the beauty of friendship in his relationships with men and women. It was not only through his instruction that his followers learned how to love and to be loved but also through the experience of him laying down his life for them. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. John 15:12-13