Thursday, January 7, 2010

Elements of Discipleship

[Note: if you're a BCS student looking for the quiz, it's the post AFTER this one... ]

With that bit of house cleaning out of the way ...

As many of you know, I've recently been hired as Director (soon to be Pastor) of Discipleship at Auburn Alliance Church. In thinking about how to lead our Discipleship ministries into one Discipleship ministry with many facets, I've been trying to condense my thoughts on the subject. I'd love your input on a few thoughts...

I'm increasingly persuaded that our role as a local church body - any local church body - is to lead people to Jesus and to teach them to follow. I'm not arguing that this is the responsibility of the pastors/staff - it's the responsibility of the church (for those of you playing along at home, that all of us in His Kingdom). So don't take this as my thoughts about a pastor's job. Anyway ...

It seems to me that discipleship (that is, learning to follow Jesus) should involve all of the following: Fellowship, Prayer, Bible Study, Service to others,Justice and Mercy, Connection to our roots.

I suspect Fellowship, Prayer, and Bible Study will seem fairly obvious.

By service to others I mean those kind acts that teach us we are here to serve, not to be served. As simple as raking a neighbor's leaves or changing a single mom's oil. This is fundamental, no?

By justice and mercy I mean involvement in the "bigger" issues in our world. Whether it's volunteering at a Crisis Pregnancy Center or an AIDS hospice, working with ONE or raising money for a local refugee ministry. The issues are out there: sex trafficking, abortion, racism, extreme poverty, environmentalism, etc... It seems to me that working to improve God's world and the lives of His creations is part and parcel of learning to better follow Jesus.

Connection to our roots ... what is that, exactly?! I mean a few things here. Certainly communion and baptism - these roots run all the way to the New Testament and serve to bind us to the Church universal in a palpable way. But I also mean remembrance. Learning about and then remembering those whose shoulders our faith stands on is a valuable exercise in learning to follow Jesus. It encourages me to know that Martin Luther needed encouragement. It inspires me to hear about Jim Elliot. I causes me to pause and take seriously the sin within me when I think about those who've stumbled along their own journey.

So, assuming I'm on the right track so far, I'm toying with this list of statements as guides for a Discipleship ministry:

Love in community
Pray at all times
Know the Word
Serve our neighbors
Seek justice and mercy
Remember our roots

What do you think? Am I missing anything obvious? Am I making too much of something too little? What have your local churches done to guide and direct the process of discipleship?

I'd love to hear your thoughts. I have more of my own forthcoming ...


1 comment:

Hatushili said...

A friend suggested I consider how mentoring fits into my thinking, given that Jesus primarily modeled "discipling" His disciples (mentoring, we'd likely say). Good point; I'll need to think this through.

Any other thoughts?