Real Life Discipleship: Starbucks or Stable?

This is the last post from the Missional Communities Team for 2012.  Thank you for reading and we look forward to seeing you in the New Year! Merry Christmas!

Mince pies, mulled wine, lights, turkey, toffee-nut latte, wrapping-paper, mince pies, carols, charades, real trees, fake trees, mince pies, nativity plays, mistletoe, baubles, mince pies, stuffing, crackers, bad TV… oh, and did I mention mince pies?!

Christmas is crazy.

In between the parties, concerts, last-minute dash for presents, getting tied-up in the sticky-tape and changing the fuse on the Christmas lights, sometimes it’s hard to remember Jesus at the very time of year we should be celebrating Him.

In the past few years the word ‘incarnational’ has become prevalent in our conversation about being missional disciples.  Incarnational mission, incarnational discipleship, incarnational community: the idea of living amongst those we want to reach has captivated our understanding of what the Christian life is all about.

And this is no surprise.  Jesus is the very picture of incarnation: He took on flesh and embodied the Good News in the way He lived, died and rose again.  And Christmas is a great time to remember this!

As we think about our own discipleship and how we disciple others there are so many challenges in the way that Jesus came into the world.  Here are just a few to consider:-

“She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.”  Luke 2 v 7

Jesus made Himself utterly vulnerable and dependent on others.   Babies are helpless, requiring all nurture and sustenance from their parents.  It’s amazing to think of the level of vulnerability Jesus experienced and the sacrifice that this was in order to be our Saviour.

  • How are you returning to Jesus in this season, seeking rest and sustenance from Him, rather than relying on your own strength?


“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.” John 1 v 14

He became like us, putting Himself under all the temptations, challenges and difficulties of this world.  Jesus knew that the most effective way to disciple the next generation of leaders was by walking alongside them and inviting them on a real life journey with Him – not just grabbing Starbucks once a month.

  • Where do you need to change the way that you disciple others – placing yourself within their culture and inviting them into your life so that you are closely journeying together – even when that context presents challenges and difficulties for you?


“Rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.” Philippians 2 v 7

Jesus chose the messy places to walk out His calling – from the manger in the stable to the tax collector’s home, Jesus invited people into relationship with Him and chose to live that out with them, even when they were challenging and it was uncomfortable.

  • Where are the messy places / the messy people that God is asking you to go to … and stay?


Jon and Helen BearnHelen Bearn lives in Sheffield with her husband Jon, and are part of St Thomas’ Church, Philadelphia.  They’ve been part of and led missional communities for the past 5 years and are passionate about seeing young adults released into their missional vision.  Jon works for Sheffield Council in procurement and Helen works for 3dmUK, a ministry which trains and equips church leaders in missional discipleship.