I was recently challenged to contribute some original Church Health Thursday stuff. Up until now, I have simply curated what I hoped would be helpful and thought provoking content. I will continue to do that. But I will also chime in with what I am noticing and learning.
This is not to be confused with my sporadic blog. My contributions to Church Health Thursday will likely be shorter than my blog and will like take on point form or lists.
So here we go. I was inspired to write about this after reading Gordon MacDonald’s book Going Deep. These are four very helpful questions as you consider discipleship – whether you are designing a discipleship framework for your church or you are simply engaged one on one.
- What is a disciple? The answer to this question should not be reduced to a line or two. It should fill up a page or two. And it should be one we all explore until we die. What does a disciple do? Say? What does their marriage look like? How do they parent? Work? Serve? Give? You get the idea. Simply put, we need to know the target we are trying to hit. Scripture would be a good starting point to explore this question.
- What does somebody need to know, experience and practice in order to be a disciple (question 1)? The answer to this should help you put together your discipleship “plan.” This is the journey one needs to take in order to be a Jesus centred, others oriented disciple. Maybe this can help you think this through – https://www.fmcic.ca/the-journey-toward-wholeness-in-jesus-introduction/
- How am I/ are we going to help people know, experience and practice what they need to (question 2) in order to be a disciple (question 1)? This is where you start to get into “curriculum”. And where that curriculum needs to be tailored to help the person you are working with. Is this a class? A small group? One on one? What do we need to do and then what do we need to do next?
- Who am I going to start with? This is the crux of the matter. We are all called to be disciple makers. And while the learning in question 1 is interesting, it is not all what Jesus calls us to. And some might even find designing systems and pulling together /creating curriculum exciting, it is still not what we are called to. So in many ways, this is the most important question. It is also the most challenging. But it’s the one we all need to answer.
Go and make disciples.
Director of Church Health, the Free Methodist Church in Canada