I can come up with a lot of answers to this question I received recently, but to put it simply: its discipleship. If you’ve heard of MERGE at Mobberly, you’ll recognize this sequence: Discovery, Ownership and Leadership. Discipling others includes each of these steps. For followers of Jesus Christ, discovering new facets of the Christian life is almost a common occurrence through reading His Word, trusting His leadership, gleaning from others in the faith and experiencing His grace in the surprises and challenges we face. There is no better way to make these discoveries than while walking and worshipping in the footsteps of Jesus.
Engaging all our senses, we touch the 570 ton foundation stone – the cornerstone – of the Temple, we sing Oh Little Town of Bethlehem as we stand in the Shepherd’s field where they heard the angels sing the glorious announcement, we taste the foods Jesus ate, we feel the waves hitting the boat we’re on at the Sea of Galilee, we experience baptism in the Jordan as our Savior did, we hear the sounds of commotion from the same pinnacle where Jesus wept for Jerusalem, we walk the same path where Jesus carried the old rugged cross, we wipe the tears from our eyes while pouring out our cries to the Father as Jesus did in the Garden of Gethsemane, we see the empty tomb with our own eyes, and we stand on the same Mount of Olives where Jesus will soon return – just to name a few.
As represented by many Christians today, unfortunately, discovery doesn’t make a difference unless one takes ownership of their Christian life by incorporating those disciplines into our lives. The cost of discipleship galvanizes the discoveries. A trip like this requires time, money, and planning. But it’s worth it! When people say they can’t afford it, I wonder how families afford the vacations I see on their social media accounts. For my family, we prioritize this once-in-a-lifetime journey as an essential part of our family’s discipleship. No one can do everything, but some things are “must-see.” I encourage you to add Israel to that list!
Leading our families and leading others in the family of God only occurs through strategic initiatives. Discipleship is more than delivering a sermon each week. Discipleship is a journey. My greatest experience for leading people in this life-changing, ever-growing relationship with Jesus occurs through experiencing life in Christ together. The Bible was written for more than our personal applications. God crafted His Word to be explored in the context of a community fo believers. Traveling for 10 days together studying, talking, praying, worshipping and meditating on God’s Word is like leapfrogging years ahead into the Christian walk. As Cleopas told the other disciple on the road to Emmaus, “Weren’t our hearts burning within us while He was talking with us on the road and explaining the Scriptures to us?” (Luke 24:32).
My own growth in the Lord surges forward every time in fresh new ways as the Bible indeed, comes to life! But leading others in this journey is one of the greatest joys I’ve experienced as a pastor. Nothing compares to being present when people make those same discoveries in their own lives.
I hope you’ll consider joining me in 2019. For more info, see www.mobberlyisraeltrip.org