Rss

  • twitter

Dare to Disciple

dare-to-be-a-disciple2

It is a daring adventure to be a disciple of Jesus and to disciple others. Discipleship involves the process of empowering believers to demonstrate the qualities and characteristics of the one you are following. When that one is Jesus Christ, it raises the bar to an all time high, as our life goal is to become more and more like Him. The challenge is to continue growing, developing, and maturing. The most frequent term used for Christ followers in the scriptures is “children.” While this denotes our position in Christ it also declares our dependency on Him

To be followers of Christ, His disciples, there are two necessary admissions for us to grow and mature, as He desires.

  1. We must declare that we desperately need Him. This journey of discipleship requires an admission of how much we need Him and that we cannot accomplish what He desires without Him. We, as His children, are incomplete, undeveloped, unskilled, vulnerable, and immature. Spiritual growth must occur, it does not happen overnight, and is a lifelong process. We are dependent upon our master teacher!
  2. We must also declare our dependency on our church family. We are meant to be a part of a local church family that can care for us and give us the relational support we all need. The number one need of a newborn, whether physical or spiritual, is a family where they can grow up healthy and strong. You cannot grow into who God intended you to be all by yourself, separated from a local congregation of believers. We not only need to live in submission to our Lord and Savior but also to a body of believers as we serve Him together.

Now that those commitments have been made you can move forward in your discipleship process. This journey involves increasing our level of commitment and sacrifice on a daily basis. As people came to Christ they were sometimes only curious and not ready to make a commitment to be His disciples.

Once they decided they were going to follow Him, He would regularly challenge them to new heights of consecration. Jesus turned up the heat on His disciples on at least fourteen occasions. He would say, “Ok, if you are going to follow Me and be My disciple here is something else you need to know!”

Jesus was showing them that the pathway of discipleship not only demanded that a decision be made (“I have decided to follow Jesus”) but it would also require discipline (“No turning back, no turning back”). Here are a couple more questions that must be asked when we dare to be His disciples.

First, will we follow Jesus? There must be a time that we say yes and began to intentionally follow Him. No longer are we just a curious bystander but we have stepped over the line of decision and will now pursue Him and His ways. We certainly do not understand all that means but to the best of our ability we are all in.

Second, we will consistently be faced with more decisions about how long we will follow Him and how far we will follow Him? We are not to sit idly by. As Jesus turns up the heat on our discipleship are we willing to obey and submit to His Lordship? Jesus regularly added to the expectations of discipleship by saying things like, “If you are going to follow me you must love one anther!”

Then before His own crucifixion He adds, “Take up your cross and follow me!” He was always increasing the level of commitment required to continue as His follower.

If you dare to be a disciple and to disciple others here a couple of things you must realize.

  1. Jesus had a plan. Do you? What does your process of discipleship look like? Can people in your church easily see what the next steps are for them to be the disciple Christ desires them to be? Do you have a system in place for spiritual development and the making of more disciples? Do not think you have to reinvent the wheel but decide what it will look like, implement the process, and then be disciplined to see the process through.
  2. Realize that it does not happen over night. Jesus spent three and half years teaching and showing His disciples what He required of them. It is not that difficult to show you what that looked like but it is very difficult to demonstrate how to do it quickly. It takes time and a commitment to the process.
  3. Start where people are, not where you want them to be. You crawl before you walk and you walk before you run. Remind yourself that you were once there yourself and practice grace and patience with those you are discipling. Don’t expect a three year old to act like a thirty year old.
  4. Make sure you are always increasing the level of commitment. Jesus did and so should we. It is possible to grow older with out growing up – but it should not happen. Listen to what Ephesians 4:13-15 says, “until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of God’s Son, growing into a mature man with a stature measured by Christ’s fullness. Then we will no longer be little children, tossed by the waves and blown around by every wind of teaching, by human cunning with cleverness in the techniques of deceit. But speaking the truth in love, let us grow in every way into Him who is the head —Christ.”

Healthy churches make sure that disciples do not grow older without growing up and maturing in Christ!

LIVING SENT

image

“Live Sent” is a familiar phrase in todays church venacular. You have probably also heard, “It’s not about our seating capacity but our sending capacity.” Being mobile and ready to follow God’s direction in our lives is for every follower of Christ. He does say “follow me” and there should not be any limitations on the location or the address whether here in North America or on another mission field.

  • Here is what living sent involves:
  • Living surrendured to the leadership of the Holy Spirit!
  • Living submitted to His guidance of where He wants you to serve Him!
  • Living with a willingness to go! Living on mission in your zip code!
  • Living determined to share the Gospel!

There are many testimonies of those who have not just talked about living sent but have lived it out in their lives. Families who have sold out, found jobs where God was calling, and helped a church planter by being a part of their launch team. Barnabas had Saul, Paul had Silas, and church planters have those who are willing to live sent. They are willing to pull up their tent stakes, step away from the comfort of family, and begin representing Christ in a new zip code because He asked them to “follow Him.”

Recently while visiting a church plant I heard another story of “living sent” from a young lady who grew up in the church planters youth group. They shared with me how she willingly came to their area and found a job teaching in a public school just so she could help. When I asked her where she worked she told me of a town about 20-30 minutes away. I asked where she lived and she said, “Oh I live here and drive to work because I knew I needed to live near the people God sent me to reach.” That is living sent!

There are multiple stories of couples, families, and individuals who have moved to help church plants such as:

  • Fusion Church in Fountain, Colorado
  • The Summit in Richland, Washington
  • The Refuge in Nixa, Missouri
  • Jacob’s Well in Plano, IL
  • The Bridge in Celina, TX

These church plants were blessed with other followers of Christ who were willing to listen to His leadership in moving to a new location, finding a new job, and beginning a new exciting journey. Each one of them have exciting testimonies of how God provided them other people who stepped out in faith believing God had called them to live sent. Maybe God is calling you to live sent and has placed a burden on your heart to follow in their footsteps? Are you willing to follow Him wherever He is calling you?

What if God were to say to you, “How about Thornton, CO?” You are probably wondering were in the world did that come from? Brain and Piper Cleary are planting CrossRoots church in Thornton and they are faithfully praying that God would send them people to help them reach their zip code for Christ. They are looking for couples, families, or individuals who would move to Thornton to be salt and light. They are praying for disciplemakers who want to build relationships within their circles of influence as they develop!

Ed Stetzer and David Putman in Breaking the Missional Code: You Can Become a Missionary in Your Community say, “One of the defining issues that we have observed over the years is that leaders who break the code seldom if ever do it alone. Working with church planters, you never have a shortage of people with big dreams and visions. It is the nature of those who plant churches or desire to plant churches to want to be paradigm breakers. However, this thing of not doing it alone seems to be the decisive difference in those who want to do it and those who actually get it done.”

Let me ask it once again, “How about Thornton, CO?” Is God asking you to live sent and to help a church planting couple reach their community for Christ. Living sent also requires:

  • Living the Great Commission
  • Focusing on People Far From God
  • Praying for Your Neighbors and Co-Workers
  • Engaging in Spiritual Conversations
  • Ability to Share the Gospel

In The Leadership Ladder: Developing Missional Leaders in the Church Steven Ogne and Kenneth Priddy ask us to evaluate our missional living by asking: “Does it make a discple? Having good missional activities leads to the making of disciples. Expressing God’s love through service is good. Expressing God’s love through relationship is better. Expressing God’s love by leading someone to faith in Jesus Christ, is best. The best missional activities put us in relationship with someone long enough that he or she can, through us, experience Christ and become His follower.”

Live sent!!!