Developing a Discipleship Strategy…

1Discipleship – Definition

Being a disciple is being a follower and student of Jesus.  Jesus Christ is MORE than our Savior and God…Jesus is our teacher, leader and Lord.  Being a disciple is best defined as being an apprentice of Jesus.  That must be a definite and obvious kind of thing. To make a mystery of it is to misunderstand it. There is no good reason why people should ever be in doubt as to whether they themselves are his students or not. Anyone who actually is an apprentice and co-laborer with Jesus in his or her daily existence is living out or putting into action what it means to be a “Christian” in every sense of the word. We are not only SAVED by Grace but we LIVE by Grace.  Living by Grace is what it means to be a Disciple of Jesus.  I am learning from Jesus to live my life as he would live life if he were I. I am not necessarily learning to do everything he did, but I am learning how to do everything I do in the manner in which he did all that he did.   Disciples have PURPOSE and a MISSION.  Discipleship is the ENGINE that drives mission.

How does one “lean into” discipleship? 

1 – First thing we should do is emphatically and repeatedly express to Jesus our desire to see him more fully as he really is. Remember, the rule of the kingdom is to ask.

2 – Second, we should use every means at our disposal to come to see him more fully.

3 – Seriously look at the lives of others who truly have apprenticed themselves to him. Often his radiance in such people gives us very bright and strong impressions of his own greatness.

4 – But the final step in becoming a disciple is decision. We become a life student of Jesus by deciding.  Sooner or later, you will either “drop your nets and follow” or not…your call!

2

Discipleship and Jesus as Lord – Non-Dualism

When you say, “Jesus is Lord” you are saying a mouthful!  Why?  Because there are vast implications of the Lordship of Christ in your life.

First of all, you can’t say “Jesus is Lord” without the Holy Spirit.

Secondly, there is no such thing as “dualistic Lordship.” Jesus will not be shared with another as Lord of your life.  Ask yourself, “who leads, directs, guides, and holds me accountable for my life day by day?  Who is it that guides me and my decisions and leads me through the hours that I live?”  Jesus directs your ONE Life in Him!

How will we Simplify Discipleship

Here are two keys:

  1. Discipleship can and should be discovery-based. This means that we can actually discover what we need to know about God by opening the Word of God ourselves while the Spirit leads and teaches us.
  2. The second key is “obedience-based discipleship.” A disciple is one who loves and obeys. Therefore obedience-based discipleship focuses on becoming one who follows, one who lives out what God has shown, one who consistently steps into the place of “your will not my will be done.”  Jesus said it, “if you love me, you will obey me.”

The bottom line is that a disciple is one who is coming to know God himself through personal experience (followership) NOT merely a bunch of knowledge (ABOUT God).

3

The Discipleship Mission, Vision and Strategy

 The Mission and Vision of this Discipleship Strategy, Core Values, Strategic Overview

Vision – Our Preferred Future

The Vision of this Discipleship Strategy is to build a movement of like-minded followers of Jesus for the purpose of actualizing the Great Commission of God (Matthew 28:16ff).

The Vision is simple – Let us venture in a discipleship partnership to take the Great Commission seriously in a creative manner.  In a consensual partnership, let us commit to building the Kingdom of God through the intentional building of redemptive discipling relationships wherever the Holy Spirit may lead.

Mission – What we do

The mission is to make disciples of all nations – to love God, love others and live for Jesus.  Our mission is evangelizing the lost and unchurched, making disciples intentionally, teaching all to faithfully respond to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, and building up people of faith so that each is exercising their giftedness in the context of loving, supportive, and challenging community.

Philosophy – Why we do it

The DNA of growth and fulfilling the great commission lies in the heart/life of every follower of Jesus.

We adhere to the belief that God works through His people.   To be a follower of Jesus is to understand that mission is the heartbeat of God.

These challenging times call for an uncompromising, courageous, and brave new action that spurs the community of Christ as well as individual Christ-followers to renewed faithfulness.

Our lifestyles must be steeped in belief that the character and life of Jesus must be freshly incarnated in the lives we live.

The Church, any church, exists to participate in God’s redemptive work in the world NOT primarily to enhance our private lives, self-esteem, or self-directed purpose.

Gift-based ministry is the foundation of a community that is alive and faithful.

We align ourselves with God’s missionary purposes in the world and are “sent” to be live the life and values of Jesus.

Mission is defined not by what a faith community DOES but by its very IDENTITY…followers of Jesus are daily on a mission.

Core Values – What We Adhere to in Discipleship

  1. The primacy of Scripture as our story of living.
  2. The indispensable role of the Holy Spirit as equipper and empowerer.
  3. The role of community: We aim to both learn and do in the context of community.
  4. Theological praxis: We aim to always both learn and do; to never divorce hearing from obedience. Nothing has been learned in a life in Jesus until it can be “done.”
  5. Spiritual transformation: The goal is spiritual transformation into Christlikeness for the sake of the world.
  6. Missional focus: We are called to go to the world after we come to Christ. We ARE a mission.
  7. A commitment to the whole church: We love and seek to bless the whole Church…that is our deep desire. Our focus is not to demean, bad mouth, or become arrogant.
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