"Then He appointed twelve, that they might be with Him and that He might send them out to preach, and to have power to heal sicknesses and to cast out demons:" Mark 3:14-15 (emphasis added)
I usually think of the twelve apostles in terms of their calling to preach, heal, and cast out demons. But their first calling, before all of that activity, was to simply be with Jesus.
When a disciple spends a great deal of time with his or her teacher, some of the learning is "caught" rather than "taught." The teacher imparts intangibles by modeling truth in everyday living. The disciples were with Jesus as He walked, ate meals, handled large crowds, confronted opponents, and blessed children. They never had formal training in crowd control or conducting children's ministry; they simply watched Jesus.
When I think of discipling others, I think first of my own children. Though I consciously and carefully prepare lessons for them in our homeschool and in our devotional time, much of what they learn from me is "caught".
They catch my attitude when they watch me engaging in crowd control (hordes of neighbor kids in our pool), as they see me offering hospitality, or simply mopping the floor.
As they are with me, I wish my disciples were immune to "catching" my sin. My little students no doubt learn new ways to sin from me, because, unlike the Master Teacher who was spotless and blameless, I am a fallen creature.
Ah, but there is grace that is greater than all my sin. And after these entrusted to me have been discipled, have been with me as the twelve were with Jesus~~ then there will come a time when they will be sent out. This is parenting by faith; expecting His grace have the upper hand.
"And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all." Acts 4:33
LORD, I have need of your great grace. May that grace be upon us all this day. Amen