It was about a month before I started applying to schools. I was at my church and I found myself locked onto a statement in the weekly bulletin. The author was Martin Luther. For a reason beyond my understanding I couldn't pull my attention away from it. I eventually tore it out and took it with me, tucking it in my car and periodically reading it.
Fast forward a few months. I'd gone through the interview process for Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry and had just received a letter from the school informing me that I would not be attending their school this year, but after much prayer and consideration they had forwarded my application to a sister school of theirs, Bethel School of Supernatural Discipleship.
At first, I was disappointed. "What is this God?" I asked. "I thought Bethel Redding was where I was going? I thought I was heading into the ministry field, hence the School of Ministry?"
Obviously though, as He so often does, God had a better plan then mine. I had lost sight of that for a moment. But the Holy Spirit in His characteristic kindness reminded me that He knew what He was doing.
Like a child tugging on your sleeve to get your attention, I heard the Holy Spirit say, "Do you remember that statement in the church bulletin I had you pull out?" He asked. "Yea, what about it?" I replied. "Go read it again."
This is what it said.
"Become a Disciple First"
"In holy and divine matters one must first hear rather than see, first believe rather than understand, first be grasped rather than grasp, first be captured rather than capture, first learn rather than teach, first be a disciple rather than a teacher and master of his own.
We have an ear so that we may submit to others, and eyes that we may take care of others. Therefore, whoever in the church wants to become an eye and a leader and master of others, let him become an ear and a disciple first. This first.
The one who has not been tempted, what kind of things does he know? One who has not had experience, what kind of things does he know?
One who does not from experience know what temptations are like, will transmit not things that are known, but either things that are heard or seen, or, what is more dangerous, his own thoughts.
Therefore let him who wants to be sure and wants to counsel others faithfully first have some experience himself, first carry the cross himself and lead the way by his example, and so he will be made certain that he can also be of service to others."
School of Discipleship. Become a disciple first. It's what I've been doing with my pastor Tom May every Monday afternoon for the past three years. It has been my life the past three years. It is what I will be doing this next year in California. Before I can be entrusted with the hearts and minds of people, God will first make sure that what I transmit will not be of myself but of Him, wholly and entirely.
And He has left me a personal note as a reminder whenever I lose focus.
It's going to be an amazing year.
-Disciple of Christ, Jonathan Craigmyle