Ecclesiology and discipleship : rediscovering an effective communal approach
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I love what the Reformed Church in America adopted in 2013 as its 15-year vision for ministry (condensed to this phrase), “Transformed and Transforming.” It is both “life change” and “life changing.” There’s a considerable amount of time, effort, and growth that occurs between those two very different terms. These two basic endeavors are what disciples of Jesus should be doing with their lives. We have been transformed, redeemed through the work of Christ on the cross; it begins here with God’s grace and salvation, imparted by the Holy Spirit. Then it must continue by daily taking up our cross and dying to self, or transforming; the life-long process of sanctification. Our church leaders have recognized that it’s not about creating programs, nor one size fits all, but it does involve discovering and rethinking how we can best carry on the work our Lord Jesus commissioned us to be doing.
There are many ways to go about making disciples, some possibly better than others. An attempt to explore and discover what those better ways might be is the central thrust of this project. If the multiplying of disciples was a central core value for Jesus’ ministry, and ours, then perhaps, one better way involves taking a fresh look at an effective communal approach Jesus used that can be incorporated into our efforts of discipling others in and outside of the church. One such “better way” will be presented.
My assertion is: we have done well in baptizing people, a good job of teaching others to obey all that Jesus has commanded us to do, but in my opinion, we struggle with disciple development. We can always do better; there is a way that may be of help.