Hear, O Israel: The LORD is our God, the LORD alone. You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might. Keep these words that I am commanding you today in your heart. Recite them to your children and talk about them when you are at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you rise” (Dt. 6:4-7).

This pattern of life-to-life modeling and mentoring as from parent to child within a daily life experience and intimate relationship was also evidenced with Jesus and a small group called disciples. Time spent together is key and at the core of a teacher-learner connection. Jesus modeled this foremost principle in his actions amidst the everyday life and occurrences as he walked and moved among the people, providing his disciples a living example of how life is lived when it is linked with and finds its center in God and his companionship.

Jesus had three and a half years to intentionally grow and facilitate the ‘becoming’ of twelve disciples to continue his mission in the world. His objective did not falter. His mentoring and life-to-life training fulfilled the principle “A disciple is not above the teacher, but everyone who is fully qualified will be like the teacher” (Lk 6:40). Therefore, discipleship is about walking alongside together, intimate relationships, imitation, mentoring, transformation, growing, and life-to-life transference from disciple maker to disciple.

How does one “do” discipleship within one’s own cultural and ministerial context in the twenty-first century? This is the challenge that this issue of Dynamic Steward will consider while examining the ‘whys’ and bringing forth helpful, practical ‘hows.’ The Concept article will initiate reflection on discipleship within denominational parameters. Our Current feature will speak to the usefulness and responsibility of technology within the framework of its purpose in discipleship, while Across the Globe will present two contrasting portraits of discipleship within their own cultural circumstance. As a final point, Character Counts will present the seriousness of losing sight of God’s grace.

The concept of the emerging church is one that acknowledges that our definition of discipleship must be clear as we meet the challenges of making disciples in the twenty-first century that is, within this generation that is living in a shifting world climate.

I invite you to embrace the challenges of discipleship while contemplating the words of Dan Kimball (The Emerging Church, p 248), “leadership in the emergent church . . . is about leaders first becoming disciples of Jesus with prayerful, missional hearts that are broken for the emerging culture. All the rest will flow from this, not the other way around.”

Alongside you in His service,

Maria Ovando-Gibson

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April–June, 2007

Discipleship