The body of Christ: We are a team!

God has given us each talents and abilities and spiritual gifts! We each have a role to play within the church. Modernism has brought on an extreme amount of individualism in American culture. One thing the church has got to get back to is being a community of believers. The church of Acts 2, that Bill preached on this morning is the example. Every person played a role in the church. When one of us is not correctly functioning in the role that God has for us, then the rest of the body is handicapped and suffers.

Another problem in American church today is “Ministry misplacement” which is the problem of 20% of the members doing 80% of the work in ministry. I pray our church does not fall into this trend.

Other reasons for meeting once a week for a worship service are:

1. Bible Commands it: “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful… Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” (Hebrews 10:23, 25)

2. Learn and grow together Proverbs 27;17, “Iron sharpens iron, So one man sharpens another.”

3. A place for regular Confession. God cannot have anything to do with sin. Sin blocks our spiritual eyes and ears from understanding God.

4. Opportunities to serve/ use gifts that God has given us

5. Serves purposes of God/Bible: Worship, Fellowship, Evangelism, Discipleship, Ministry!

6. Helps us follow God’s Will together as we share together

7. Leads to discipleship

The Importance of discipleship and mentoring:

A disciple is a learner and follower. The first disciples followed Jesus Christ. Discipleship is the intentional training of disciples, with accountability, on the basis of loving relationships. All Christians are disciples of Christ. We are to become complete and competent followers of Him.

I am super excited about the vision for our church! Soon we will be launching a church 0wide discipleship program. The idea is to get everyone in a one-on-one intentional relationship for the glory of God with a mentor. The relationship is about multiplication: both to increase and deepen your own faiths respectively but also for the purposes of prayer, evangelism, and service together. By focusing our time on building into each other and serving the community, not only will your faith grow but also the church will expand.

Thoughts on discipleship

I think the church has gotten off track in some ways when it comes to discipleship. I want to be an instrument of change if God wants to use me in some way for a discipleship revolution if you will.

Loving people and remembering that they are fallen has really challenged me and made me step back a little bit to remember that what we are dealing with. Sinful people that need delivered, then developed, then deployed…and at each step there will be rejection. there will be hardships. There will need to be caution and extra care taken at each step of the way. So this principle helped bring me down to reality and challenged me. How can we make these changes that I think we so need but also in light of the fact that men are men. Sometimes I have not been a delicate discipler, but I need to be more so.

I desire to build in men at my secular world as well as my sacred world (church.) My strategy might be different but my goal is the same for both: deliver, develop, deploy and see reproduction!

This course influences me to pray for my lost friends at work that I want to build into. It influences me to pray for men to build into wherever I am. This course influences and challenges me to lead the way. I cannot just preach discipleship, I have got to be doing it. Not just on the receiving end but also on the building into new guys end of it.

The nature of mankind greatly should affect the method and approach to ministry.

All of us, men, come from a fallen background. We are all hurting, no one has it all together. Also man has to chose, we cannot force anything on anyone, nor should we try.

The concept that I personally need help with is love. I pray almost everyday that the Lord will give me love for the people I need to serve today. I need love to be patient with the lost. I need love to reach out to the lost. I need love when I am teaching my classes at church, yes I need to love even the saints, not just the sinners. I am not asking for “love” in general, that I can muster, but the love of Christ to work through me. Because I am from a fallen background too. I make mistakes a lot and my love is useless. I need Christ to fill me with his compassion and love for my flock and for my lost friends.

Also I need patience. Similarly, not my own patience but Christ’s. I need to realize that man will make his own decisions. I am here to help, but ultimately I have already made the decision to follow Christ completely. I cannot expect others to have the same attitudes, response, commitment that I may or may not have. Everyone has their own experiences and thoughts about God. I should not try to force them to follow in my footsteps, although sometimes I really agonize for them – that they (the lost and my disciples) will follow me (in discipleship or in salvation respectively.)

I am not this “great” Christian. I do not want to come across as an arrogant, I do everything right Christian, cause I do not! Forgive me if I have sounded this way.

Leadership lessons from two disciplers/mentors

1. These leaders were careful and caring. They know they are working with people. They understand that dealing with people means that you have got to love them. Teaching them truth and life lessons is important and good but why? Why…well because it is BEST for them. What does that mean, why is it “best” for them? It is love that motivates the teaching of the truth not the truth alone. Truth alone is painful and not always helpful.

2. Leadership requires dependence on God. Pray before you go sharing. Pray before you eat. Pray before you study the Word of God. Pray…these leaders showed me the tender heart and dependence on God that is so necessary before we minister to others.

3. Both of these leaders focus on the Word of God – this is where their approach and strategy comes from.

My two guys who are making disciples: one is a pastor and the other is a campus Crusade leader. They have separate strategies and ideas are both founded on the Word of God. Both see the connection between evangelism and discipleship. Both have a lot of creative ideas.

The main difference between the two is that my Campus Crusade disciple has more of a “closed” approach to his discipleship team. This might be because he does not have time to disciple everyone and that is true.. He focuses a lot of time and quality on those he does disciple! And He is a busy busy man whom has other Crusade responsibilities to attend to.

“Disciples are created in the image of God, yet fallen and choosing to learn.”

As much as I want to dive into my theological position pertaining to this question, I will restrain and focus on answering this question in relation to what we have been learning in this class about discipleship.

Well, first breaking this down theologically will help get to how it relates to discipleship…

“Disciples are created in the image of God” – correct. Gen. 1:26-27. And yes, God created man “Above” animals to rule over them.

“yet fallen…” – also true…Rom. 3:10, Ecc 7:20

“and choosing to learn…” – here is the tricky part….

Here is where one (me) is included to delve into some deep theology regarding “Free Will vs God’s Sovereignty” and Man’s ability and God’s power….All of these are related.

For the point of discussion and summing things up (instead of dealing with ALL of the theology) I will say yes with certain qualifications and explain why I think that we “choose to learn.”

God created us like Him, in His image but are fallen because of our sin nature. On our own power we cannot find God. We cannot come back to righteousness without God first coming to us. God is Holy, Righteous, Good and full of Grace – and we are not. We cannot chose to learn and be righteous on our own. God is standing at the door of our hearts and knocking, if we answer and let God in then we can have the relationship with God and then we can begin to learn and grow.

God is the one who takes the initiative though –this is the “God’s Sovereignty” part. Each man can respond differently, this is the “free will part.”

Some will choose God and choose to have a relationship, which includes learning and growing. Others will not.

In response to some of the other ideas floating in the other posts I have read so far. I agree that sanctification is the process after salvation. It is the process of learning and becoming more like Christ.

While the salvation experience is a one- time event, but there can be a process that leads to that event. Salvation is not a process but in some instances a series of other events might lead to one’s salvation experience – this sort of process is not sanctification though. I also agree that one is either saved or not, but there are relative degrees of holiness.

In context of discipleship, this statement has a few implications:

1. If a person is not saved, then sanctification and discipleship will not be very meaningful. An atheist can learn a lot about what a Christian believes and what the worldview is but they will not get much out of discipleship if they are not in a relationship with the Lord.

2. This statement is a good starting point for someone who is recently saved or wants to start a relationship with God. A. Realizing we are fallen. B. Where do we go from there? The relationship. C. The relationship with Christ and the learning to be more like him…this is a broad way of defining “discipleship.

3. Finally this statement helps us distinguish the difference between evangelism and discipleship. First, we see that man is fallen and if man is not in a relationship with Christ they need to be introduced to Him first which then should lead to discipleship and sanctification. Secondly, it provides an honest outline for us…we should not simply “save” people and leave them…we are called to tell people about Christ and MAKE DISCIPLES. So this should change our approach to both evangelism and discipleship…by this I mean yes we need to introduce them to Christ but also lead them in the knowledge/learning/growth of discipleship. The two are to go hand in hand.

“Ministry demands proximity.”

Distance separates people. If there is interaction between men than usually there is proximity. To get good care (physically, mentally, and spiritually) then proximity helps a lot. Let’s look at some model examples…Jesus and disciples is a great example for how proximity helps do ministry. Jesus lived with and did life in proximity of the twelve. This is one of the most effective examples of discipleship in the Bible.

But let’s not forget other examples where proximity was distanced. Paul wrote letters to a half a dozen churches. Peter wrote to seven churches. Their ministry was to oversee all of these churches! It is difficult to argue that they were unsuccessful, because both of these apostles were pretty successful. Indirectly, someone can have a ton of impact without proximity. Two ways in particular come to my mind…the first is financially. Many churches today indirectly minister to others worldwide by providing food, shelter, resources, medicine, and missionaries to the lost. The second is through distance relationships. For example phone or internet ministries. There are many ministers that do have an impact in some way through these means, also the radio is another one.

Sure these letter, radio, financial, internet, and phone ministries are not FULL, all-encompassing ministries. They are indirect ministries in a lot of ways and when you look that the full structure of each of these ministries there is some necessary proximity between someone, somehow. (Paul did not write letters to nations he could not travel too, radio stations can only broadcast so far, etc.) Although it is not exactly the same proximity we see with Jesus and the disciples.

I will say that from what we have been learning in class proximity optimizes ministry. I have been preaching and learning that Jesus’ model for making true disciples is the way to do and I still believe that. Following Jesus’ model is not the only way, but I think it is the optimal method for ministry and making disciples. Similarly, look at “family” as a model for ministry and discipleship.

I like family as a model for ministry because families “do” life together. Jesus did life with his disciples, at every interaction along life’s path there was something to learn, something to think about. Whether they were in the temple, on the road, in a home, or in a garden the disciples were learning from Jesus! Family is a natural environment for ministry.

Powerpoint from DMNS 500. On Organization as “structure.” Liberty University, 2009.

Paul’s strategy for ministry found in Philippians 4:9.

Paul’s basic strategy for ministry is multiplication. According to Mitchell this is the teacher Model form.[1] In verse nine, Paul is so confident in his own model that he encourages readers (the church of Philippi) to “do as you have seen me do!” This takes a lot of guts. As teachers, pastors and ministers there is a responsibility to lead our flocks and be the model example, but most teachers are not bold and confident enough to say it as straight-forward as Paul does here!

How I personally like to explain this approach is multiplication. Paul wants to make others like Him (in a spiritual sense). He says “what you have seen from me, what you have heard from me, what you have learned from me – put these things into practice. Do what I am doing! As teachers we need to be at that level where we can boldly proclaim that message to our flocks as well!

What is this multiplication that I keep referring to? Basically I think that Paul and Jesus both taught similarly about making disciples. We are to “go and make disciples of all nations…”[2] Paul and Jesus both command us to win others over for Christ. We are to share the Gospel with others and multiply the number of people in the Kingdom of Christ.


[1] Michael R. Mitchell, Sources and Forms of a Message.(Lynchburg, Va: Liberty University, 2004), 1-2.

[2] Mt. 28:19 NASB

“The purpose of the Great Commission is to make disciples who worship Jesus.”

The Great Commission is our marching orders from Jesus himself! Let’s look at it together:

Mat 28:18 And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.

Mat 28:19 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,

Mat 28:20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

First, we see that this is very important! Jesus is saying that God has given him all the authority to say what he is about to say. First to what he says is that we are to make disciples, not just worshipers, although that is a part of it. And the disciple is baptized not just in Jesus’ name alone, but the Father, the Son (Jesus), and the Holy Spirit. So, yes, disciples are to worship Jesus but disciples are to worship the one true God who is three-in-one (the Trinity).

Also Jesus asks us not just to worship as disciples but to learn. Personal growth is required. We need to teach them all things that Jesus has commanded. While worship is one thing Jesus commanded, he also taught a lot more!

Rick Warren gets three purposes from this commission: Evangelism (telling others about God), Discipleship (personal growth and learning, becoming more like Christ), and Worship (honoring God).

And finally, “I am with you always.” Jesus is encouraging the disciples here to obey him. Obey me and I will never leave you. And it is true even for us today, as the Holy Spirit is always with us!

one of the toughest things about the state of discipleship in America right now:

Time:

Discipleship is a process, it takes time. It is not meant to be transformation quickly. (2 years, 40 days, 12 weeks, etc)

Our Spiritual formation and relationship with God is on-going and matures slowly. We are to be investing our lives into learning more about God.

Churches that are becoming more effective in discipleship have 2 or 3 year processes of learning the general worldview of Christianity, they also encourage and hold other classes for more mature Christians who want more training…(which all this is fine and great)

On one hand, it is difficult to but all of the Christian worldview in a 2 or 3 year program.
On the other hand, American Christians today need some sort of structure:

because we (as Christians) are losing out in discipleship and in spiritual formation and our Christian worldview. Americans have prioritized everything else in conquering their American dreams and have lost their worldview. They have lost their faith to secular world.

So I am encouraging these two-year processes but I am also saying that is not the end! Do not stop when the program is over because our faith is a process. It is a relationship of maturity. We continue learning more and more about God and being transformed more and more every day.

But even these “weak” and shallow structured programs are not enough. Because Christians will not make time for them The problem is no the program, this is a starting block.

The problem is in priorities. Christians say they have a time problem, but I beg to differ. They have a love problem and are not making time for their first love. 😦

What does it mean to be a disciple?

When one chooses to be a Christian, one becomes a follower of God. There are things that our leader, God, asks us to do as followers.These conditions of being a follower or disciple of God are not always easy. God wants a real relationship with his followers and when believers meet these conditions spiritual growth occurs. Personal spiritual growth is really important in being a disciple.

According to Barna success in making true disciples is: Seeing “men, women, boys and girls committed to Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord and growing daily in their knowledge, love, and service to Him.” Barna calls for Christians to single-mindedly focus, day to day on Jesus. The kind of obsession for Jesus that disciples have is all-consuming. They are passionately devoted to Him. They make a lifelong commitment to a lifestyle of following Jesus. But the personal devotion is only the half of it. And my favorite analogy is that of a coin. On one side disciples are committed to personal growth. But on the other side of the coin disciples are committed to sharing and multiplying themselves.

Some of the conditions of being a follower of Jesus are self-denial, renunciation, “leaving it all,” steadfastness, fruitfulness, and love. Jesus taught that God does not like half-heartedness. God desires a real relationship with his followers therefore it is imperative that followers show that they are serious about their faith and put God first. There could be many people who say that they are Christians and many people who want to follow Jesus but they are not truly followers because they are not willing to follow through on these conditions.

The first condition, self-denial, is setting aside one’s own plans, goals, desires in life and following God’s instead. This is one of the hardest things about being a disciple of Jesus. Our life is no longer ours, but Christ’s. This first thing disciples must do according to Barna, fits here. It is “disciples must be assured of salvation by grace alone.” The “getting in” to the discipleship club is that we realize that it is not about us. Nothing we can do will save us. It is only by God’s grace, therefore it is essential that we deny ourselves completely. Being a disciple of Christ means that we will have to choose between the desires of our own flesh and the plans of God.

The second condition, renunciation, means to reject or renounce earthly pleasures. It is a sacrifice. Take the idea of self-denial and step it up to the next level. Not only are you denying your own plans and pleasures but now also rejecting all earthly pleasures and desires as well. Remember God wants all of us in our relationship to Him, not just to be compartmentalized to Sunday mornings only. The second thing disciples must do is “learn and understand principles of Christian living.” If we reject the earthly things we need to replace the void in our lives. Understanding the essentials of Christianity is absolutely necessary to living (a Christian lifestyle) practically and passing it on. Instead of indoctrinating ourselves with the world’s ways we are to learn the ways of being a Christian.

The next condition of “leaving it all” builds on the same ideas of self-denial and renunciation. We are taught by Jesus to follow him. Not to follow our own ways, not to follow the ways of this world, instead we are told to “leave all” behind. This might mean leaving behind other “important” things like family, friends, or a career to do God’s will instead. Luke chapter fourteen tells us to leave behind our family, our possessions and instead take up our crosses to follow Christ! And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple (v. 27).” “In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple (v. 33).” “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters — yes, even his own life — he cannot be my disciple(v. 26).”

The fourth condition is steadfastness. Steadfastness means to be dedicated, devoted, loyal, and fixed on a goal. When it comes to being a disciple we are to be fixed on following Christ. We are to align our thoughts, doctrines, and teachings up with what Christ teaches in the Bible. The third thing disciples must do is “obey Gods commands.” (John 14). Perfection is not required but dedicated devotion and steadfast commitment towards following the laws is required!
We are to be fruitful. Christians will bear fruits of the Spirit. This also progresses from being steadfast. If someone is steadfast in their faith, abides in Christ, and is serious about their relationship with God then they will inevitably become more like Christ. This means they will act and behave differently. They will love. They will have peace, joy, faithfulness, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and self-control. The fourth, fifth, and sixth thing disciples must do fit under being fruitful. Disciples must represent God as His ambassadors. Those who are not Christians will know that you are a disciple because of your fruit and lifestyle. Disciples must love and serve others (John 13). Disciples must reproduce themselves in Christ.

In other words, if a disciple is truly a disciple, he is sharing Jesus with others. He is so zealous about Jesus that he wants (and is) telling others about Him! He is reproducing himself. He is reproducing his passion for Christ and setting other’s ablaze in that same passion!

In conclusion, being a disciple means being a zealot for Christ. It means giving everything over. Not only is it surrender but it is a new life. It is a new life in Christ. It is about maintaining a passion for my first love. Being a disciple to me means dedicating my all to Christ. I love Christ. For all that He has done for me, I want to serve Him. I want to learn from Him. I read and study about Him in the Word to become more like Him. When my focus is on Him, my life is transformed. I am serving and loving others. I am growing my own faith, but I am also telling others about him. Being a disciple is a dedication to a day-to-day, moment-by-moment lifestyle.

Barna, George. Growing True Disciples. Waterbrook Press: Colorado Springs, CO, 2001.