Inspired by this question from IF:Gathering Founder and Visionary, Jennie Allen, the “IF” team includes over 7,000 IF:Local leaders around the world who are dedicated to reclaiming the priority of discipleship as God’s method to changing the world.
I was so captivated, that first time I heard Jennie declare that inspiring phrase from the stage in Austin, Texas. It was February 2015 and I really had no idea what kind of event it, this “IF:Gathering” was that I’d been handed a free ticket to. After I came home I was telling anyone who would listen, all about the incredible speakers, the diversity, age range, beauty, humility, worship and yes, the call to discipleship. There were two friends that leaned in the most – one was in her 20s, one her senior years and I myself, smack in the middle.
We all knew that God had ordained more than my free ticket and thus began our journey together. With the three of us on the journey to understand this life-on-life discipleship more, we were soon joined by others and tuned in for Austin’s simulcast, as we hosted our first “IF:Barrie” event a year later.
We know this, Jesus’ call to discipleship (Matt. 28:18-20). So why are we so stumped by it? Why do we find another year has gone by and we cannot honestly say that we have either discipled another or been discipled, ourselves.? I knew that I and many others were still mystified, terrified or perhaps worse: believing that we were “unqualified” by the task.
But our relationship with Jesus qualifies us.
If we are active in the ‘Journey to Wholeness in Jesus’ (Milepost #3!), then we can disciple someone else. With Alpha graduates, teens, doubting believers, hurting people, young leaders, the lonely, tempted, passionate and keen – disciplers are needed at Barrie FM Church.
Is it formal? informal? For a season? Life long? The answer is YES.
“IF” is a big part of helping our Women’s Ministry at BFMC understand how Jesus did it.
The most beautiful tool for us has been IF:Table.
2 hours, 4 questions, 6 women. It’s Acts 2:46 + a sanctified imagination.
IF provides the questions (available monthly), and we, as a ministry team or as individual women, provide the space and some food. Or we potluck. Or we could grab pizza and hit the park. The Table is a safe space for wrestling and sharing the journey of faith.
“What are your passions or gifts that make you come alive?”
“How does isolation create a spiritual drift in your life?”
“List three things that keep you from reaching out and inviting people in.”
In two hours we can be way past the surface. Those who’ve come have loved it: Younger, older, new believer, seeker, vintage follower, extroverts and introverts! The Table has broken down the façade of believing that church-ladies have it all together; that we don’t need each other. These times have helped us to begin the conversations, to see potential in relationships.
The Discipleship Collective. IF launched this latest offering this spring, with a second Collective opening in the fall: a guide, podcast, activity and challenge – arriving in my inbox each month + an online community. I would love to see many of our women each committing to a year, choosing two women to come alongside, doing life-on-life discipleship, because it’s less about offering solutions and more about doing life together in Christ.
Check it out
Barrie Free Methodist Church
Women’s Ministry Director