By Carrie M. Mitchell; CLM
Today’s post is an extension of my learning from one of my Church Planting Courses. The Church As Movement by JR Woodward// Dan White Jr.
I have noticed when Christian leader’s think of discipleship, there is the tendency to follow the methods and ways of traditional learning I mean we offer traditional classes, along with traditional programs. I am admitting I use to think that way using the traditional method.
Just as there is a culture-shift there is a discipleship-shift. Getting Information to current members, potential new members, and to the surrounding community is a part of the extensive ministry of discipleship. If we are expecting the attendance numbers to increase by 10 to 20 percent per year intentional innovation is the requirement amid the learning and practicing the ways of Jesus provides us the ingredients for the increase. In other words it’s time to pull out the bible when developing a new ministry platform.
The disciples [Jesus circle] were invited into an intentional relationship with Jesus to learn what he knew and discover who he was. Jesus’ final words to the church were to go and make disciples: to do the same as he did, reproduce and pass on what had been invested in them. As followers of Jesus, this is the call of the church today. The question that you must ask yourself is …What has Jesus invested in you?
Woodward and White explain, “At the center of church as movement is learning how to be disciples and make disciples.” The authors unfold how Jesus discipled others. From this place (the center), they share tools and subject matter to help us navigate into a complete process when it comes to making disciples. By giving us a vision and practical guides to lead us through the process, we learn how to form safe spaces for people to be who they are while stretching them towards Jesus.
Woodward and White define discipleship as “a move towards accountability and vulnerability to learn and practice the way of Jesus on mission.”This should begin within the context of gathering a core team. This indispensable section of the book dives into some important things you will need, from tools to help you discern whom to invite into the core team, to the importance of creating a space that is safe as well as stretching, to the four phases that your core team will go through (each very important!). There is even a tool to help us pay attention to and process the moments where God is at work in our lives.
Missional Words to Live By Here are a few of my favorite quotes from this chapter (so hard to pick just a few!): Merely transferring spiritual information can inoculate us to on-the-ground practice. Practice is being formed and informed by the bumps, bruises and baptism of application…this is being a Jesus follower.
- True learning doesn’t take place until we learn experimentally. And experiential learning often starts with someone modeling what we are to do.
- We must engage the relational work of cultivating disciples in community. Jesus was an expert at asking questions that challenged people’s underlying assumptions. We would do good to model this in our discipleship process.
- We are shaped by experiencing deep, abiding safety, where we are loved as we are while simultaneously being loved enough to be invited into transformation, mission and doing some challenging things.
- Each stage [of the phases of a discipleship core] brings certain challenges that have to be faced, worked through and resolved if the group is going to survive.
Disruptive moment[s]…call us to respond to God’s invitation…and we are challenged to listen.
- Who you invite to become part of the discipleship core is one of the first and most far-reaching decisions you will have to make as you start a missional-incarnational community.
I recommend Church as Movement for anyone wanting to learn how to be a disciple of Jesus and make disciples as he did. It is a must-read for those wanting to start and sustain missional-incarnational communities.