“We will hold to the truth in love, becoming more and more in every way like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church.” Ephesians 4:15
In Part 1 of these two blog posts, I talked about Judges 2:10 and the importance as a church to reach the next generation with the saving message of Jesus Christ. I used the verse in Judges to illustrate the idea of reaching the community and the world as one of the core tenets, or at the heart, of our church. In this article, I want to take it a step further and address another core tenet of our church: that being taking the steps between transaction and transformation. Or discipleship.
I love the Church. I love what it is, what it does, and what it’s meant to be. I believe the local church is one of the most misunderstood, underutilized and best kept secrets in America today. And probably in the world. But what get’s me pumped up, what gets my adrenalin flowing every morning is the realization that we can give people a glimpse or a taste of Jesus. This is what get’s me excited about what I do and what I’m a part of. That’s why what we do and how we do it makes such a difference. And that includes discipling those who are members and regular attenders of Northstar.
We believe that making disciples is crucial to the growth of Christians and to Northstar. In fact, discipleship is core to our culture and shapes everything we do. The songs we sing, the prayers we pray, and certainly the sermons that are preached, all aim to grow us as God-glorifying disciples.
We strive to be more Christlike over time. Or in other words, learning to be like Jesus so that we react to our world the way Jesus would react if He were in our shoes. Ordinary day-to-day ways of being, relating, knowing, and doing so that our lives take on the look of His life and our lives begin to do (in part) what His life did.
Jesus said “Go and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19). Every church’s mission is the same: Making disciples of Jesus. We are to make disciples the same way Jesus taught his disciples — after all, where can you find a better Teacher to use as your example. So how did Jesus train His disciples? He spent time with them. He lived the lifestyle in front of them. He took them with Him everywhere He went. They ate together, they watched Jesus heal people, deliver people from demons, and teach people about the kingdom of God. Jesus simply used every available opportunity to share with them principles of His kingdom where training His disciples and communicating His message.
As they spent time together, His disciples simply grew in their understanding of the kingdom and how to operate within it. Jesus taught these men by letting them observe Him doing something and then giving them a command to go do likewise. This experience equipped and prepared them to be able to accomplish the great commission. Everything in this commission they had already been prepared for or had experienced. They were now ready and able to fulfill it.
This the blueprint for making disciples today. This same principle for discipling people was also used by the apostle Paul as he discipled Timothy. “And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others.” – 2 Timothy 2:2.