Recently my younger brother posted a few thoughts about our father on Facebook. I have been thinking a lot recently about discipleship and how much relationship(s) plays a key part in doing discipleship effectively.
- More than just doctrine
- More than just behavior
- More than just reading the right books
- More than just attending the right function: Discipleship is about following Jesus. Having a relationship with Jesus. Since we don’t have Jesus with us “physically” in the same way we did in the time of the apostles — that may seem impossible. But if Paul and other NT writers are to be believed the church as God intended it is — in a very real and tangible way — the embodiment of Jesus on earth.
With those thought running around in my head and with a sermon on the vital role of shepherds / pastors / elders in the church being finalized I recalled the following written by my younger brother around Father’s Day:
Walter Hahlen was the first great Bible scholar, theologian, and thinker I ever met. He brought books into our (older brother Charles and me) lives. He was an avid reader of the Bible, Bible study aids, and the daily newspaper.
He was an encourager of ministers. He and mom honored ministers and ministry in our home. The ministers of First Christian Church in Minerva, OH and visiting preachers and speakers at our church were constant dinner and overnight guests. That’s probably one explanation [of] how two parents who were not in ministry ended up raising two ministers.
He was a humble man who committed himself and his abilities to kingdom of God. He was ahead of his time in understanding the importance of mentoring. I reflect often how he skillfully put my older brother Charles and me in the presence of men he knew would reinforce his values and could add experiences to our lives he could not.
If you mattered to his boys and were contributing positively to our lives, you mattered to Walter and had his support.
Often you don’t realize what’s right in front of you until you get away from it. It wasn’t until I was almost out of college that I realized the faith and commitment of my parents with the greatest clarity. When they were at an age when people are thinking about retiring, they sold the house, left Ohio, left the church they had attended for over 20 years, left all their friends and family, and went to work for Johnson Bible College (now Johnson University). They worked there for some 16 or 18 years [it was 17 years]. He never graduated college and never taught in a college classroom, but he contributed to the lives of hundreds of students as the college bookstore manager, as a friend, and aged sage.
That’s pretty much it — discipling others is basically teaching them all you know — hooking them up with others to fill in the gap — and passionately pursuing Jesus and His purposes at all times in your own life.
Go and do likewise……..