“Then Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet. ‘Do you understand what you are reading?’ Philip asked. ‘How can I,’ he said, ‘unless someone explains it to me?’ So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.”



On Tuesday night a group of us from Whakatū  went along to a Discipleship and Dessert evening hosted by the Anglican Diocese. It was incredibly engaging and quite challenging as we look to the future of the church. As I sat and listened to Rev Spanky Moore speak about his experience of discipleship I couldn’t help but think about Philip and Ethiopian in Acts 8. I wonder if we are all a bit like the Ethiopian.

The Ethiopian was trying to read scripture and he couldn’t understand it. We read the question “How can I, unless someone explains it to me?” Not a truer statement has been uttered. How can we expect people to become disciples of Jesus unless they’re shown how. Because that is what discipleship is about. It’s about demonstrating to others how to be like Christ. Notice what I didn’t say. I didn’t say telling them how to do it, but instead showing.

The Ethiopian would never be able to understand the scripture unless he was shown how to. We can never understand how to be disciples of Jesus unless we’re shown and we can’t expect others to become disciples unless they’re shown. Is it something we’re doing? Are we still making disciples? It’s a question that’s got to be asked.

The church is in a tough place.  For a while now,   we’ve tried to get people into a relationship with Jesus by inviting them along to our church services. We might invite them along to an event. But it seems it’s not going too well in reality. What does seem to work is discipleship. It is the model that Jesus gave us—to go and make disciples as he made disciples. This then takes the emphasis off a few people and puts the emphasis on all of us as individuals.

Jesus says in the Great Commission in Matthew 28: “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” It’s a call to all of Jesus’ disciples. If we are disciples of Jesus we are not an exception to this rule. We are all called to make disciples. Here’s the good news. Christ goes with us in this and he gave us a model of how to do it. He showed us first, so we can go and do the same.


Living God, you call us to something that is absolutely daunting.

Help us to become people who are passionate about making disciples;  give us the tools and the heart.

In your holy name. Amen.




Exodus 17:8-15