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Posts Tagged ‘Discipleship’

Marine Graduation

Went to a Marine graduation the last few days, hence I’ve been slow in posting on here.  Some of you may know that I served in the Marines and I’ve been out for a few years now.

The trip was sentimental but it also made me think tangent to the Christian faith and specifically with discipleship.  Here were some thoughts I found it stirred within me to continue being biblical in discipleship of believers:

1. Don’t compromise the faith and teaching the hard things of the Christian faith.  If our goal is make disciples and teach them all things that Christ want us to teach from His Word, we best not compromise.  Compromise will definitely lower the quality of the disciples we forge within the church.

2. The Goal of discipling Christians ought not be to get rid of suffering in their lives but to explain and make sense of it biblically.  If we don’t teach them to expect suffering, we should probably expect them to suffer seriously in their Christian walk.

3. We must not forget our spiritual roots and also ensure that we past them on to the next generation.  We must show them that each one of us have an obligation to not just subscribe to what we believe but pass it on to the next generation while realizing the world around us would slowly reflect values different than our own.

4. 2 Timothy 2:3-4 in the ESV is an imperative for all of us: “Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. 4 No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him.”

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Vine

There are many books out there that concentrates on the topic of how to do discipleship in the church.  Some are exceptionable and some are inadequate and poor.  There are so many notions on how to do discipleship in the church.  Some are business, market, or professionalized-driven raher than Bible-driven.  Discipleship that is Bible-driven is concerned about the glory of God and people’s spiritual well-being/Gospel growth.

If you desire your ministry to operate in the realm of changing lives, rather than meeting the criteria of the world, which is based on success, rather than excellence, I recommend that you read this book.  Some of the major themes that you will be exposed to is the call to be pastor-trainers/trainers for the sake of Gospel.  If you have the ministry mind of a pastor-trainer and the desire to see Gospel growth, then you will have a ministry mind that will help you change how you do discipleship and minister for the sake of the church’s health.

Some components that I really appreciated about this book was its emphasis on the vine as being the foundation for ministry.  The vine is evangelism and discipleship.  Too many times, churches focus on the trellis (i.e. programs, structures, etc.).  Not that they are not important, but we must be careful not to put the horse before the carriage.  As a result, they spread themselves thin because the priority is not seeing the lost get converted or seeing believers get discipled.

Some people come for programs or desire different types of ministries to suit their needs, but they do not desire to make disciples.  Leaders need to be careful not to give into this pressure or live under the umbrella of people’s wishes, but must take serious heed to Jesus’ command to make disciples (cf. Matthew 28:19-20).  To not take heed, will be disastrous to Gospel growth.  You may have a growing church due to more programs, etc., but the essential notion to keep in mind is whether the saints are being discipled.  Building disciples from the pulpit is not enough.  The book points out that you will need to meet with people whether it be one-on-one or more.  And as the numbers grow, you will need more workers in order to keep up with the demand and you will need to take the notion of training new workers seriously.  It is not a one man show.  It is about finding more faithful workers to come alongside in doing the work of the ministry (2 Timothy 2:2).

As people are growing in discipleship and zealous to grow more and more, they will come up with new ideas and will desire to grow others.  It will be a little messy and you will probably think there needs to be more structure.  The author describes that as a good thing because they are growing.  Because you  are working with people who are tainted with sin, you will need to expect some chaos, etc.  But overtime, through your conviction (“knowledge of God and understanding of the Bible”), character (“godly character and life that accords with sound doctrine”), competence (“ability to prayerfully speak God’s word to others in a variety of ways”), things will begin to gel (78).

Another point of importance when it comes to discipleship, is the book’s wise exhortation to trainers, “The motivation to serve and to be trained will come from the gospel and from a deep work of the Spirit in people’s hearts.  It won’t come from you going on and on about training, and harassing people until they finally sign up!  It’s grace, not guilt.  Don’t make ‘training’ the new test of true discipleship” (165).  That is a great quote to keep us humble.

There are so many other important points to consider, but I will leave you off with this vital point that the book tells one to take mental note of for pastors and trainers, “…we must be willing to lose people from our own congregation if that is better for the growth of the gospel.  We must be happy to send members off to other places so that the gospel may grow there as well.  And be warned: this will happen if you take gospel growth and training seriously.  If you pour your time into people, and mentor and train them, the consequence will often be that some of your best people–in whom you have invested countless hours–will leave you.  They will go to the mission field.  They will join a church-planting team in another part of your city.  They will take a job in a different part of the country because the gospel need is so great there.  They will undertake further training, perhaps at theological college or seminary.  A commitment to the growth of the gospel will mean that we train people towards maturity not for the benefit of our own churches or fellowships but for the benefit of Christ’s kingdom” (83).

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