I had just walked in the door and said, Hello when the doctor came in to follow up with his patient. The church-member signified they wanted me to stay, so I walked over to the side and tried (a bit awkwardly) to stay out of the doctor’s way while listening to what was going on. I was fascinated to watch as the doctor filed in with a few residents watching, questioning and studying the doctor’s interaction with the patient. The doctor would spit off questions and information and have the young residents respond, at intervals, with their thoughts on the condition. As they left the room, the doctor stepped out and the residents scuttled behind to the next room and the next patient.
Thinking back, it was curious to think of the years these fresh residents had spent in school, from high school, college and medical school to this residency, they had devoted much of their life to learning in a classroom, memorizing and studying countless textbooks and taking a multitude of tests. But it had culminated to this. They were in a real life classroom, learning with the doctors on real patients, finally putting into practice that which they had learned over so many years.
It struck me how clear a picture of discipleship I had just witnessed.
Numerous authors have proposed the model Jesus set up for discipleship:
I do. You watch. I do. You help. We do together. You do. I watch. Repeat.
In the church, our discipleship often takes the form of classrooms (Sunday School, small groups, etc…) but seldom does it take the form of residency, but this is where we hone the skills that have been formed in our minds.
Seeing the beautifully demonstrated discipleship in the medical field has helped open my eyes for the desperate need to not just teach and train in classrooms and pulpits, but take people with me in ministry. Evangelism can morph into a shared experience and hospital visits don’t have to be done alone.
This sort of discipleship moves us from inside the church to living out what we’ve grown accustomed to bottling up in our minds. Discipleship is not an informational dump but an opportunity to deliver the Scriptural truths we’ve gathered into the world around us.