adventure is out there
I need to apologize. Not just for myself, but for pastors like me who have made the Gospel of Jesus out to be a safe endeavor. Why the apology? Because following Jesus has always had an element of risk involved. We have somehow fit Christianity in America into a safe and secure suburban context in a way that Jesus never intended. In fact, according to a study done just a few years ago, Christians are considered the “most persecuted group in the world”.*
We are incredibly blessed in this country to not currently experience the level of Christian persecution that much of the rest of the world is facing. Yet the atmosphere is changing and assuming you’ve read the whole Bible, you know that it will get worse until Jesus comes back. When we talk about adventure in this book, and on our actual DiscipleTrip, we hope it will be one of fun adventures where everyone comes out laughing. Yet as Christians we need to understand that the enemy does not want us discipling one another. Part of your preparation for a DiscipleTrip is that you must armor up. This is not just about bumps or flat tires along the road. This is about an army within the Spiritual realm that is going to be lined up along the road ready to sabotage you at every turn. And that’s not an analogy. We’ll talk more about this in Chapter 4: Packing for the Trip.
But coming back to pure adventure, there was nothing boring or unadventurous about the man who walked on water. And that’s the guy we’re following here. When Jesus gathered his rag tag followers on the beach in Galilee, he did so by inviting them on a fishing trip. Not a sit-by-the-lake-kind-of-afternoon where you sip iced-tea and watch the sunset as your pole sits lazily leaned up to your lawn chair; but the kind of open water, deep sea venture where you are likely to hook a baby shark and enter into the fight of a lifetime with your pole in hand. The kind of catch that if you were to land the fish in the boat, you would do so drenched in sweat and provided quite the story to tell; the kind of fish-wrangling that might just leave you out of breath with a smile on your face.
You see, living the Gospel of Jesus is a die-to-self activity that takes us out of our comfort zone and into the adventure of the great unknown. Luckily, Jesus did not invite us to embark on such a fishing trip alone. Not only did he promise to go in front of us, but he promised to go with us and to even cover our backs with his Holy Spirit. We are not solo practitioners in this grand experiment, but teammates with others that he has also recruited to join in on the team. We fool ourselves if we somehow believe that following Jesus, this “Christianity” if you will, is a solo sport. Rather, we are to enlist comrades to travel with. But camaraderie cannot be had simply by playing on the same team. It comes through a deeper, more meaningful bond.
On our DiscipleTrip, we are likely to form new friendships, even with those we don’t expect. However, Discipletrip is not just a friendship building exercise. It is a journey with Jesus in the company of friends. My friend Alan Hirsch uses the word “Communitas” to describe this shared mission. Communitas is community with purpose. The camaraderie that is formed in this shared mission becomes a true bond that breaks down walls, open hearts and minds, and binds men and women together in a way that only Jesus can. Are you ready to embark on such an adventure?