In working through our Corporate Covenant, we come to that portion focused on discipleship. What I would like to do is share some personal history, develop some definitions, and point the way forward for us as a people of God.
As to personal history, here we go. From the time I was born, I have attended church. My parents always took me. During high school, college, seminary, as a single adult, and now as a married man with children, I have always attended church. Most of the models I’ve had the privilege to be in have stressed the gathering time as the primary means of discipleship.
For example, Sunday School, Sunday morning worship, and Wed. night prayer were the primary vehicles of discipleship. Mission was largely accomplished one-on-one. The goal was to get unbelievers to the church services, more or less. The vehicles of Sunday School etc. were sufficient to disciple people. This may be a little simplistic and it may be contrary to what my leaders intended. Either way, it was my takeaway.
For me and perhaps for many of you, at FCC, this was the paradigm.
This construct did facilitate a disconnect between the person who showed up at church and the person who lived life away from church. Additionally, the idea was, get information at the services and then you will be a better disciple.
The difficulties with the paradigm I’ve yielded to for many years is simple. How can you practice the works of Jesus when discipleship is largely church service and information oriented?
In Matthew 7:24-27 Jesus says that everyone who hears his [Jesus’] words and does them is the wise man who builds on the rock. Everyone who hears his words and does not do them is like a foolish man who builds on sand.
A disciple of Jesus is a person who lives life the way Jesus lived life. Discipleship is that process of learning how to live the life that Jesus lived. To disciple someone is to teach them to live like Jesus lived. This process includes the classroom but it also includes real life. This includes learning the three areas of focus in our Lord’s life: UP, IN, OUT.
The leadership of FCC is responsible to see that discipleship is implemented and celebrated here correctly. We do not support an information based model of discipleship. For this reason, in the last two years we have changed a lot of how we do things. We have Missional Communities. Here we practice the three rhythms of Jesus. We don’t just talk about them, we do them. Even at a corporate level, we are developing rhythms of practice as opposed to rhythms of information.
The goal is very simple. We want to teach and equip the people of FCC to live a life like Jesus lived! Presently we have added two vehicles to help us better translate this to our fellowship: Missional Communities and Huddles. We frame discipleship in terms of practicing UP, IN, and OUT. We fight to guard against information based discipleship, instead, adding imitation, and innovation.
This message comes from Matthew 7:24-27. Want to listen? Here’s the online sermon archive.