This month I’ve asked a few of our Conference leaders to share about their area of responsibility and passion for ministry. Today’s blog is by Pastor Jeremiah Duncan, our Director of the Board of Discipleship. Here’s what he’s thinking about these days…
I believe discipleship is really about discovery. Jesus used the power of conversation to help people discover what is true. Take for example the conversation Jesus has with the woman at the well in John 4. Jesus knew how to listen and how to ask really good questions. Even though he knows it all, he certainly didn’t play the part of the know-it-all! Some things were left for discovery.
A couple of months ago I attended a discipleship training and engaged in some healthy conversations about what it means to be a disciple. In fact, the group came up with a working definition that includes our willingness to share what life in Christ looks like with others. Together we discovered that seeking the lost is a part of discipleship.
What is remarkable to me is how easy discipleship comes when we make it a regular practice in our life. I started a new leg of my discipleship journey a couple of years ago when I learned about the 4 fields and how to share the gospel using My Story and the 3 Circles. These simple tools help me to tell the good news in its fullness and to tell it with confidence. I shared My Story with a friend a couple of weeks ago in a setting that was very nontraditional for this kind of activity. Yet it all flowed out and he was engaged and asked questions and came to the conclusion that Jesus was a good thing. He isn’t ready to jump on board yet, but now he has my words to go along with my consistent friendship as testimony.
I am a member of a cute little church and I’ve learned that a disciple does not grow and become mature in a vacuum. People need to be connected because a single person cannot be transformed on their own. Churches like yours and mine need to create environments for spiritual transformation to take place.
“People change incrementally over time with others in the context of spiritual practices, experiences and relationships that keep us open and available to God’s transforming work.” –Ruth Haley Barton
We need to practice our faith in community: prayer and worship, teaching and communion, hospitality and caring for those in need, evangelism and justice. We need to invite people into the conversation and help them discover what life in Christ looks like.
BEFORE YOU GO
Here are a couple of questions to help you think about the way you disciple others. These are by no means comprehensive but they will help you think forward.
- Describe one thing you do to create environments for spiritual transformation to take place.
- How do you disciple people who have been going to church for awhile and how is it similar or different to the way you disciple newer believers?
Does everyone in your church know how to disciple other people?
Pastor Jeremiah will be one of presenters at my Supt’s Zoom Room (Thursday, April 11 at 9:00 am). The topic is “Sharing Jesus.” I’d love to have you join us, just visit this site https://zoom.us/j/932913758 .