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Discipleship

Keep up to date! This page will get new content weekly in September and October, 2018

Discipleship Resources (FAQs and other documents) – click on this link.

Introduction: Welcome to Madison! Whether you are a new member or have been with us a long time, Jesus invites you on a journey — the most important journey you will ever take because it leads to the full and abundant life in Christ. Jesus invites you on the journey to grow and to keep growing — this is the life of discipleship.

Biblical Basis for Discipleship

The first stage in a journey of discipleship begins with Jesus inviting us into a relationship with him.  In John 1:38, two of John’s disciples asked Jesus, “Rabbi, where are you staying?”.  “Come,” he replied, “and you will see.   So they went and saw where he was staying, and they spent that day with him. It was about four in the afternoon.  As a result of that invitation, these disciples began a journey of intimacy with him.

The second stage in Jesus’ method to deepen his relationship with those who love him is by calling them to “Come and follow him.”  In Matthew 4:19, we read that “As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. 19 “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” 20 At once they left their nets and followed him.

The third stage is when Jesus calls us to “Come and Be with Him”.  Mark 3:13-15, tells us that “Jesus called to him those he wanted and they came to him. He appointed twelve – designating them apostles – that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach and to have authority to drive out demons”.

And finally, Jesus calls us to “Remain in Him”.  In John 15:4, Jesus commands the disciples, “Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me….5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.

After His resurrection, Jesus gathered his followers and said to them these final defining words, called the Great Commission recorded in Matthew 28 .  “Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Jesus method was people – to enlist those who would bear witness to himself and to carry on his work after he returned to the Father.  In the beginning, we see nothing in these 12 men to give us any confidence that they were capable or had the qualities for great leadership.  But Jesus saw in them potential. He saw what could be. He wanted to take them from where they were to where he knew they could be. Robert Coleman, in his book, “The Master Plan of Evangelism”, writes, “Jesus can use anyone who wants to be used… One cannot transform a world except as individuals in the world are transformed, and individuals cannot be changed except as they are molded in the hands of the Master”.  Jesus was deliberate in his approach.  His focus was on people and helping them move forward.  In fact, he literally staked his whole ministry on them.  In Acts 4, we see the results. The religious leaders, “when they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus”.  While not ignoring the masses, Jesus did not rely on his ministry to the masses to be the primary tool for transformational ministry.  His strategy was to concentrate his life on a few good men and women.

Here are some key principles of Discipleship:

We are called to an intimate relationship with God:  Mark 3:14-15, “Jesus went up on a mountainside and called to him those he wanted, and they came to him.  He appointed twelve – that they might be with him and that he might send them to preach and to have authority to drive out demons.”  THis is the “With Him” principle.  Jesus invited the disciples to join him and to be with him before he ever asked them to do anything.

We are called to a life of discipleship:  Col 2:6-7, The Voice    “Now that you have welcomed the Anointed One, Jesus the Lord, into your lives, continue to journey with Him and allow Him to shape your lives.  Let your roots grow down deeply in Him, and let Him build you up on a firm foundation. Be strong in the faith, just a you were taught, and always spill over with thankfulness.”

We are called to a life of discipleship in community:   Eph 4: 15-16 The Voice   “by truth speaking in love, we are to grow in every way into Him – the Anointed One, the head. He joins and holds the whole body with its ligaments providing  the support needed so each part works to its proper design to form healthy, growing, and mature body that builds itself up in love.

We are called to make disciples:    Matt. 28:19-20 the Voice  “Go out and make disciples in all the nations.  Ceremonially wash them through baptism in the name of the triune God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Then disciple them. Form them in the practices and postures that I have taught you, and show them how to follow the commands I have laid down for you.  And I will be with you, day after day, to the end of the age.

We also see this call to make discipleship in 2 Timothy 2:2 in the context of relationships and the passing on of faith to the next generation.

2 Timothy 2:2 – “And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses, entrust to reliable people, who will also be qualified to teach others.”

A disciple at stage 2, 3 and 4 is about the business of reproduction.  They are not just people who are mature in their faith, but part of the definition of a Stage 4 believer is that they are intent on reproducing themselves in the lives of next generation to ensure that they are disciple-makers who are also producing disciple-makers of those who are coming behind them.

Robert Coleman has a quote in his book, The Master Plan of Evangelism that says, “His objective was to make disciples, not converts.  To put it another way it would be: Disciples who make disciples who make disciples.

Madison’s Definition of a “Disciple”:

“Disciples are those who love and follow Jesus,

who are becoming more and more like Him in their attitudes and actions,

and who seek to make other disciple-makers”.

 

Madison’s Definition of “Discipleship”:

“A process in which the Holy Spirit uses two or more people in

intentional relationships to focus on growing as disciples of Jesus”.

 

Discipleship happens:

  1. At Home
  2. At Work and School
  3. In Extra-curricular Activities
  4. On Social Media

Some changes we are making as a church to create a culture of discipleship:

Focus on Smaller Group size

  • We will encourage people to develop smaller groups such as One on Ones, Triads, Quads, and Small groups.  We will encourage these groups to meet at times convenient for them, using an intentional curriculum.
  • We will encourage all existing small groups to deepen their small group experience by getting intentional and to begin using one of the recommended resources that are on display in the bookstore.
  • We are working on developing core curriculum under two themes:
  • “GROWING” (Spiritual formation) – Spiritual Formation.
  • “GOING” – Leadership Development.
  • Materials will be selected and made available in curriculum form for use.  Samples will be available for sale in the bookstore.

Provide more intention around intergenerational experiences – Children’s Church changes.

We seek to consolidate and decrease ministry programming to create space for relational discipleship to begin to occur.  Focus will be on smaller relational groups, which have the most transformative potential of all.

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