Guest Post by Ed Underwood
This is Part 2 of a 2 Part Series
In the last post, I wrote about four truths you need to know before you start disciplemaking–four truths I wish I’d known before I started, myself! In this post, I’d like to share two words that should guide your discipleship activity.
1. Relationship. Jesus’ invitation to discipleship is an invitation to relationship with him and his people. He invited his disciples to follow him by simply being with him. That’s the simple but dramatic scene of Mark 3:13-14: “Now Jesus went up the mountain and called for those he wanted, and they came to him. He appointed twelve (whom he named apostles), so that they could be with him and he could send them….”
Without relationship discipleship seems like teaching cold truths about a warm Savior. Truths about the Christian life, about Christ, about God, about the Bible. But what is Christianity about? What is the Bible about? What is eternal life about? Eternal life is receiving the life of God and sharing that life with Him and his people forever. It’s all about relationship. After all, Christianity is indeed a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
Relationship integrates biblical truth. Every doctrine, every story, every truth is designed to draw us into a closer relationship with Christ and others. So each lesson moves the students that way—closer to Christ and others.
2. Grace. Consider what discipleship involves! When Paul defended his ministry before King Agrippa he recounts exactly what Jesus told him to do in Acts 26:15-20. Here’s my paraphrase: On the basis who I am and what I have called you to do, I will protect and empower you as I use you to open the eyes of those who believe in Me so that they are delivered form darkness, rescued from the power of Satan, receive forgiveness and an inheritance as they follow Me.
The goal is remarkable—to draw your friends into a closer relationship with the Lord Jesus. More than remarkable, your goal is supernatural! You cannot do this on your own. The only way you will reach your goal is the same way you received eternal life and grew in your Christian life—by grace. Only God’s Spirit can move a heart closer to Christ.
Grace stimulates Christian growth. Every sin forsaken, every step of obedience, every truth grasped, every attitude changed, every hurt healed is the result of God’s grace. So each move closer to Christ has to happen in this way—by grace, through faith. Spiritual growth requires an atmosphere of grace.
Discipleship isn’t easy or hard … it’s impossible if the Holy Spirit isn’t empowering it. So it’s all about grace …from beginning to end … and the “end” is the moment we meet Jesus.
FOCUS ON RELATIONSHIP; EMPHASIZE GRACE.
You’re going to make a lot of mistakes as a discipler, I know, I’ve made them all.
But if you’ll keep those two words in mind—relationship and grace—you’ll never lose your way.