Discipleship can seem like such a lofty concept, but how can we bring it down to a tangible set of values to get people truly engaged in this work?
Our church is trying to take discipleship seriously. We realize that we often quote the Great Commission more than we obey it. This reality must change.
To get us focused on the emphasis of discipleship, we need to address the challenges that we all face.
Four frequent blockades that many Christians experience are
- Stagnation – people just feel stuck in their own walks
- Isolation – we emotionally detach from other Christians
- Frustration – we don’t think we have the time to disciple anyone
- Immobilization – we wander aimlessly without a clear direction
What are some helpful values to direct this emphasis? These four values can drive this work as we address these four struggles:
- Paths – A personalized path addresses stagnation.
- Partners – A committed group of partners addresses isolation.
- Permissions – A contextual permission addresses frustration.
- Purposes – A discipleship purpose addresses immobilization.
We talk about discipleship a lot within church culture, but we struggle with articulating what it means. These 4 values are driving our church right now as we work to a vision of everyone discipling someone.
For those who feel stuck in their spiritual development, it’s time to get moving again. Instead of expecting all disciples to experience growth on template models, we will help our church develop personalized paths so that each of us doesn’t accept a sense of spiritual stagnation. You don’t have to stay where you are – we believe that your life can still change for the better.
The challenges of this life can cause us to retreat into dangerous isolation. We all need consistent, Christlike relationships so that we can encourage and be encouraged. While our church grows larger, we have a burden to keep our people connected. We want to develop a culture that ensures no one remains isolated from hopeful and helpful relationships within the church family.
Due to the pace of life today, many Christians feel frustrated because they want to make their life count for something significant but lack the margin to accomplish anything great. We want to give great permission to engage the Great Commission in the contexts in which you live. We will teach our members to engage their natural connections through a ministry lens. Don’t think of permission as someone allowing you to do something, but as the freedom to grow where you are planted. You don’t have to fit into a box. You have complete freedom to make disciples in the contexts in which you live.
The common excuse for Christians in our day is that they aren’t mature enough to help anyone else mature. We will push back against the trend of immobilization and develop our members to feel confident enough to accept responsibility for guiding at least one other person’s spiritual development. Within the contextual permissions, each person will take a group member, a child, or a friend and disciple them with what they have.
Travis Agnew serves as the Lead Pastor of Rocky Creek Church in Greenville, SC. His most recent book is Just (About) Married.