What is the goal of discipleship? Why is it so important in the church? In our lives? Why do we have and need it? These are some of the questions that we will be looking at answering today. Being involved in discipleship is one thing, but truly understanding why we do it, brings you to a whole other level of discipleship.
What is Discipleship
Discipleship is the teaching of Biblical theology and lessons while modeling a righteous, Christ filled life style. It equips Christians with the Word of God, fellowship and positive relationships, encouragement, accountability prayer, and discipline. Discipleship isn’t something that is meant to be easy, or meant to end. It is an ongoing process that takes time, commitment, energy, effort, and patience. It is something that can’t be done on our own but must take place in community. It should take place in all of our relationships. If discipleship is teaching and modeling, we need someone to teach and model to; but, it is also about learning and growing ourselves, and for that we need someone to teach us and be a model to us as well.
The Goal of Discipleship
So what is the goal of it all? Is it to make converts? Plant more churches? What is the point of discipleship? The goal of discipleship isn’t about making converts or even disciples; it is about making disciplemakers. What do I mean by disciplemakers? A disciple is a follower of Christ, while a disciplemaker is a follower of Christ who turns and goes and makes more disciples. They don’t just settle with being a disciple. But that’s not the ultimate goal; the ultimate goal of discipleship is helping others become more like Christ. This can in turn lead to more churches being planted, but ultimately the goal of discipleship is to be in fellowship with other disciples helping one another become more like Christ.
Why is it Important
Discipleship plays a very important role in the church as well as in our individual lives. Can a church without discipleship truly be a church? Would you go to a church where there is no fellowship, or teaching of the Bible or encouragement or prayer? I wouldn’t, and that is why discipleship is important for churches. It helps the congregation of the church grow and flourish in their faith lives. Discipleship is important in our lives because it is important in the church. Discipleship brings things like positive relationships, encouragement, support, prayer, love and new lessons to learn. All of these things are things that we need; not because we are Christians but because we are human. We need love, support and relationships in our life and, because we are disciples, we need these to come from other disciples. When we get these from other people who understand our faith, the encouragement and support that we receive will be agreeable with Scripture and with God.
But we need to remember that discipleship also brings accountability and discipline. If we don’t have people, other disciples, keeping us accountable to living like Christ, the chances of us straying are greater. Accountability from other disciples will help us stay aware of our life style and keep us from straying from living a righteous life. And with accountability comes discipline. From childhood, discipline has been important in our lives. When we wanted to do something bad, our parents disciplined us to teach us not to do it, and we still need this. When we do something that goes against what Scripture says, we need someone to discipline us. Not in the sense that we judge and punish them but we help them see the wrong in their actions and walk with them as they work to fix the issue. When discipleship takes place in our own lives and we are able to grow in our faith and continue to be more like Christ, the church will also grow with us.
How Do We Do It
Like I said, discipleship takes time, commitment, energy, effort and patience. It is a process that never ends. It should start the moment we decide to follow Christ, and it should never end. That is why it is important to make disciplemakers and not just disciples. Making disciplemakers will secure the ongoing process of discipleship as it is used to make more disciples.
But what does it look like to do discipleship other than just giving our time and energy to others? Discipleship is all about teaching and fellowship. It starts with disciples. These disciples than create a community (e.g. a church) with other disciples, they are in fellowship with others who believe in Christ and want to live like Him. Once this fellowship is built you can work on building discipleship programs like Bible Studies and Kids clubs and continue to make disciplemakers. It is important to realize that discipleship starts with disciples. It can’t work if it goes backwards starting with an organization, then programs hoping to make disciples. How can disciples be made if there are no disciples to help teach and walk along the new disciples?
In summary, discipleship is teaching and fellowship among disciples with the goal of helping each other become more like Christ. It is important that we have discipleship in our lives as, without it, we can’t grow in our faith walk and help build a positive community. Discipleship is about giving a reason for your faith. Through teachings, encouragement, prayer, support and good modeling we are able to show others why we have faith and how we live like Christ which can help them do the same. We all need discipleship, no matter where we are in our faith walk. If you are not involved in discipleship already I encourage you to go and get involved. Find a discipleship group to join or start one yourself with a few friends. Not sure how to start one? Take a look at the resources and blog posts at omscanada.org, or leave a comment and I would love to help you get started! Remember discipleship starts with you being a disciple that is in fellowship with other disciples.
For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters."
Then people are considering missions and being involved they will express an interest to their church and hopefully to a missions agency. By expressing their interest, they are making their first step on the journey to becoming a missionary, but, they cannot do the journey alone. They need our help! We need to be encouraging and praying for these individuals. But how do we pray for someone we don’t even know? How do you pray for such individuals? Well, there isn’t necessarily a right or wrong way to pray for someone, but there are suggestions on how we can pray for those interested in becoming a missionary.
1. Focus on God.
Begin by focusing on God. Thank God for his good will toward all people and his love for the world. Thank Him for His intensely personal love for this person and for the plan He has for their life. Thank God that Jesus’ death on the cross has cleansed this person of unrighteousness. And thank Him for the work of the Holy Spirit in this person’s life, and giving this person an interest in the missions field.
2. Thank God for the Person
Thank God for their gifts, potential, abilities, and skills. Thank God for the grace that is evident, and that the Holy Spirit is already at work in this person. Thank God for His promise to answer prayer.
3. Ask of God
Ask God to block the plans of Satan against this person. Ask Him to bless the person and to make clear to them His goodness in such ways that there can be no doubt that it is God and not coincidence or chance. Ask God to strengthen every good personality trait, every good desire and every right decision of this person. Ask God to make this person open and receptive to His voice and sensitive to His leading. Ask Him to release this person from any prejudice, to break any chain of sin or habit that may block God’s purpose. And ask God to surround this person with His presence and melt away any hesitation with His great love.
4. Claim God’s Promise.
Claim God’s promise to guide this person. Claim God’s promise to gather for Himself a people from every people, tongue, tribe and nation. And pray that God would send this person into the harvest to do His work.
Prayer is an important and powerful tool. Many things can be done through prayer. When we pray for those we may not know, it is our way of encouraging them. We are bringing them up to God so that through God we may join them on their journey of God’s call on their lives.
Each year, OMS spends time at different Mission Events where individuals express an interest in mission work. These individuals need our help and our encouragement. Please join us in praying for these individuals and that God will send more labourers into the harvest. If you would like to receive a list of names of individuals to pray for you can contact the office.
This content was adapted from Wesley Duewel’s book “Touch the World through Prayer” . It is used by permission of the Duewel Literature Trust, Inc. Greenwood, Indiana.
Going to church and calling myself a Christian automatically makes me a disciple. Or one would think. Calling yourself a disciple is a fancy way of saying you are a follower of Christ. But look at it this way. I can go to school and call myself a student but that doesn’t automatically mean I am going to graduate. Becoming a student, and attending school are steps in what makes me a graduate. Going to church and being a Christian are only little parts in what makes me a disciple. Being a disciple isn’t just going to church and saying I follow Christ, it’s an intentional process, and one a lot of us tend to forget, or even ignore.
1. Deny Yourself (Mark 8:34; Matthew 6:33; Luke 14:33)
This starts with repentance, and admitting to your sins which leads to a transformation. A baptism where you are born again in Christ. It continues with you making God your first priority in life. You give God your life, you leave the plans you had for yourself to follow God’s plans. You are no longer the driver, the one running your life. You must give God ownership to all that you are and to all that you own. It’s because of Him you have it anyways, right?.
2. Read, Understand and Apply Scripture (John 8:31; Matthew 4:4; Luke 11:28)
Reading Scripture is extremely important, but it is also important that we that we understand what it is saying and that we apply it to our lives. Often we read a passage and it leaves our minds the second after it enters. To be disciples we need to read Scripture but also apply it to our lives and this requires that we understand it.
3. Teach, Serve, Love (Matthew 28:20; John 13:34-35; Ephesians 5:1-2)
Teach others all that you know about Jesus, teach them to obey every command that he has given us. As a disciple you will always be a student but you must also be a teacher. Mike Breen says that every disciple must look like a sheep from the front and a shepherd from the back. We must also never stop loving. There is no shortage of commands and verses in the Bible that tell us to love as Christ loved. To be a disciple is to be an imitator of Christ; to love as Christ loved.
4. Transform your Mind and Live Righteously (2 Timothy 2:15; Romans 12:2; 1 Corinthians 10:31)
To truly be a disciple of Christ we need to focus our lives on living righteously and living free of sin. Yes, I know that as humans it is impossible to be completely sinless, but as a disciple we are called to a higher standard, God’s standard, of living. We can’t do as the world does. When we are born again, we need to transform our minds, attitudes and actions. We need to live righteously and act in a way that pleases God and brings glory to His name alone.
5. Counsel (Proverbs 11:14; Hebrews 13:17; Proverbs 12:15)
We are meant to receive counsel in our lives. It is said in Scripture that the wise receive counsel. When we try to live on our own and believe we always know best we are setting ourselves up to fall. You’ve probably heard the quote “two heads are better than one”, well it can apply to this. Seeking counsel and help from another disciple is better than not seeking counsel. Remember to use others in the family of Christ for help and advice.
6. Evangelize (Mark 16:15; Acts 20:24; Luke 4:18)
Evangelizing is an important part of being a disciple. We need to share of God’s grace and love. We must share the Gospel with anyone and everyone. Share your testimony of what God has done for you in your life. This can show others the power of God and also be encouraging for them. God is too good to keep to ourselves!
7. Worship (1 Chronicles 16:23-31; Hebrews 12: 28-29; Psalm 113:3)
As a disciple we are to worship God in all that we do. It isn’t just singing songs at church on Sunday morning, it can be done in many ways. When we use the gifts and talents that God has blessed us with to honour Him, that is worship. You can worship God by playing sports, studying for school, and even cooking. Obeying the commands God has given us is a form of worship too. Worship God in everything you do!
No one ever said that being a disciple of Christ was going to be easy work. It takes constant work and effort. It is an ongoing process where you never stop learning and growing in your faith. Look at it like a journey. When you are going somewhere you have to keep moving until you reach that place. You can’t stop walking half way and expect to get there. On your faith journey, you have to continue to walk towards God by constantly working through the process of being a disciple. It doesn’t have to be done in any specific order, but everything has to be done. And we can’t stop. The process of being a disciple doesn’t end until the day of Jesus’ return, and Jesus has said that he will return when all nations have had the chance to hear the Gospel (Matthew 24:14). So where do you stand on the process of being a disciple? Are any of the tasks missing from your life?
How many times have you told yourself that you weren’t a good enough person for God to use? How many times have you thought that you were too damaged or broken for anything good to come from you? Well, you aren’t alone with these thoughts! Many Christians today believe the lie that they will never be good enough for God to use. But, that is all it is, a lie. God uses the broken and He can use you!
You are Chosen
We are God’s chosen people. God chose us because he wanted us to do His work. God doesn’t have favourites that He chooses. He chooses all of us. We may think that we will be the last chosen because we are more broken or we sin more but Romans 3:23 says “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”. We all have sinned! Before you were even born God planned your path, and he chose you for a specific purpose. You are a chosen child of God; you may be broken but it doesn’t mean you can’t be used. God isn’t done with you yet.
-Jeremiah 29:11, Ephesians 1:3-4, Philippians 1:6
You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last."
God Walks with You
We may be broken, but God often uses brokenness for His glory. When God calls us to service, I think we sometimes forget that we aren’t doing it alone. I don’t know about you, but, as a broken person, if I were to try to do anything God asked of me alone and on my own, I would fail. So I am super grateful to know that I am never alone. God doesn’t call us to do His work and then just leave us to do it alone and on our own! He provides us with the strength, the knowledge and the tools to complete our task. In Matthew 28:19-20 we can find the Great Commission where God calls us to go and make disciples, but do you know how it ends? The Great Commission ends with God telling us that He will be with us the entire way!
-Isaiah 41:10, Psalm 118:6, Matthew 28:19-20
God Chooses the Least Likely
You may think God won’t call you to do something because you don’t think you are qualified to do it. That isn’t how God works. God doesn’t necessarily call those that seem the most qualified. God calls anyone and everyone and then He makes them qualified for the job. Don’t believe me? Well, look at a few examples in the Bible. Moses was called to speak in front of Pharaoh, but he wasn’t good at speaking. Elijah was a Prophet; he was also suicidal. And Job, Job went bankrupt but God still used him even after he had no money. These people may never be our first picks to do our work, but they are God’s. Why? Because God can and will use anyone. God wants to use those less qualified because it shows His glory more when He makes them qualified and they succeed at their work.
-1 Corinthians 1:26-31, Exodus 3-4, 1 Kings 19:1-18, Book of Job
God doesn’t necessarily call those that seem the most qualified. God calls anyone and everyone and then He makes them qualified for the job"
God knows how we humans work. He knows that we relate better to those of the same kind. If you went bankrupt and were struggling, who would you rather talk to about it, someone who has been where you’ve been, or someone who has never known the struggle? God takes what we call weaknesses and He makes them our greatest strengths. You may think that because you’re depressed you have nothing to offer, but you do! You have the ability to talk and help others who also are depressed in a way someone else can’t. He prepares you. Maybe you don’t think you have the money to serve, but if God calls you, He will provide the funds for you to go. He equips you. Look for ways that God may be preparing you for service because God can use you! You’re His chosen child and He has a use for you! Are you ready to let God turn your weaknesses into strengths?
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”
A friend of mine was trying to decide what to do next in life and was struggling. She told me that she wanted to do God’s will but His will is so complicated and hard to know. But I think she is wrong. I think we are the ones that make it complicated. We try finding God’s will as a pinpoint accurate thing, but we should be seeing it as a whole wide circle.
One of the biggest questions when someone is considering doing missions is if it’s God’s will for their lives, "Does God want me to go, is He calling me?" This is a great question, but how do we know if it’s God’s will? Let's take a look at 7 tools that can help us discover God's will.
1. Walk with God – Proverbs 3:5-6
First things first, have a personal relationship with God. Read the Bible and do devotions daily. Pray and talk to God honestly. And get involved in Bible studies, and at a church so that you may learn more about God and His love for you.
2. Surrender Your Will — Romans 12:1-2
It isn’t our will with God’s approval, but it’s God’s will alone. To hear God’s will clearly, we must leave behind our own plans and get rid of any expectations that we may have. We must remain open-minded to what God is wanting for us.
3. Follow What You Already Know – The Bible
We aren’t starting from scratch when it comes to learning of God’s will. All Scripture is filled with guidance and God’s plan, not just for us individually, but for all humanity.
4. Seek Help – Proverbs 11:14
Seek guidance and input from Godly people in your life. Sometimes other people can see things in our lives that we miss. By sharing our lives with others, they can help us see more clearly what God is doing and what He may be calling us to.
5. Discover Your Gifts – 1 Peter 4:10
What are the gifts and talents you have that you can use to honor God? God has created us for specific roles and He has blessed each of us with the gifts needed to complete these roles. If we are able to discover our gifts it may help us have a better understanding of what God’s will is.
6. Listen – John 10:27
A good relationship is about talking AND listening. When we pray, we are fulfilling the talking part of our relationship with God. But have you ever sat in silence and listened while praying? Next time you pray, try sitting quietly for a few minutes. Clear your mind and open it to listen for God’s voice. Meditate on specific questions you have for God and even write down what you hear.
7. Listen to Your Heart – Psalm 37:3-5
God wants His children to be happy. As you grow in your relationship with God, His desires will become your desires. God’s will is not restricting or oppressing. When we follow God’s will for us we will feel peace, joy and freedom in God. Your heart will be one with God’s.
We can’t just ask the yes and no questions in life, and what we want can’t take priority. When asking whether you should do missions don’t wait for the yes or no answer. That may be the easy way to do it, but God has been showing you the answer your entire life. He has been preparing you every step of the way to do His will. When we develop an intimate, lasting relationship with God and learn to trust Him, our life’s pathway becomes clearer. Don’t be afraid to ask the hard questions. If you need help knowing what questions to ask leave a comment with your email and we will send you a list!
The other day I was reading a devotional on the kingdom of God and it ended with this, “We need to be kingdom minded in everything we say and do”. Now this really made me stop and think about what it actually means to be kingdom minded. What does that look like?
Being kingdom minded is when we are aware that this is only our temporary home and each of us has a unique purpose here to help further the kingdom of God. We know that what we do is not for us, but for God.
We need to be kingdom minded in everything we say and do"
But what does it look like to be kingdom minded? What would someone see in us? And how do we become kingdom minded and continue to grow in that mindset?
4 Things People Should See
1. They should see God at the center of our lives.
To be kingdom minded is to keep God at the center of all that we do. We are aware of our actions and whether they would glorify God.
2. They should see us reaching out to others, and serving.
Being kingdom minded is to have a servant heart. It is reaching out to the poor and needy, even if we don’t benefit from it ourselves. Serving in the community is as important as serving
in the church.
3. They should see us sharing our testimonies.
Sharing our testimony is so important. You may think your testimony isn’t worth sharing, but trust me it always is. Even if you didn’t have a huge life changing event happen, or an exciting transformation story, your story still shares of God’s grace and love. And that is always
4. They should see that our priority is not our own agenda but God’s.
Being kingdom minded is to put God’s agenda before our own. Our number one priority should be furthering God’s kingdom by sharing of God’s love, peace, joy and grace.
However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.
4 Tools and Practices to Help Us Be Kingdom Minded
1. Devotions and Prayer
Spending quiet time with God in devotions and prayer is a great way to stay kingdom minded. This time will help you build your relationship with God and learn more of what he has in store for you!
2. Attend Church
Attending church is a great place to learn more about God and what it looks like to further his kingdom. You can also build strong relationships with other church goers. These people can
encourage you and walk alongside you in your journey to be more kingdom minded.
3. Become more Missions Orientated
Get involved in missions. Support a missionary, pray for a missionary, or go on a missions trip. These are great ways to get involved in furthering of the kingdom.
Supporting a missionary financially and in prayer is as important as going. Help in the way you think God is calling you to.
4. Bring God into all Daily Activities
Bringing God into all your daily activities allows God to be fully involved in your life. When God is fully involved you will be able to show God’s love and grace in every area of your life.
We are here on earth for a purpose. God calls us to glorify him in all that we do and say. Wherever we may be on the scale of kingdom mindedness, there is always room for growth. Our purpose is so much bigger then we can imagine and it will take time and effort to achieve. What have you been doing that shows you are kingdom minded? And what will you change to become more kingdom minded? Let these 4 views and 4 tools/principals help and encourage.
Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God”
Do you ever wonder if you are following God’s plan for you? Are you afraid that what you're doing or wanting to do isn't actually from God? It would be so much easier if God would write out his plan for us in clear English. Unfortunately, that’s not the way it works for most of us.
Are you afraid that what you're doing or wanting to do isn't actually from God?
Making decisions in life can be very stressful when we are trying to do God’s work. It is even harder when we aren’t sure if what we're doing is from God. So the question is, how do we know if something is from God?
This is the most important tool and the first tool we should use when asking the question if our path is God’s path. Ask God to show you his plan for you for the situation you find yourself in. Psalms 25:4-5 is a great prayer to do this.
Jeremiah 42:3; Matthew 7:7
2. Go to Scripture
God has given the Bible for our direction, so why not go to it for help with making life decisions. Your decisions should agree with Scripture. If your reading of Scripture raises doubts about your plan, you may want to rethink it.
Psalms 119:105; 2 Timothy 3:16
3. Is it Glorifying?
Will your actions in the situation bring glory to God? We're called to glorify God (1 Corinthians 10:31), if it isn’t for God, it isn’t from God. Ask yourself, ‘would Jesus do it?’, for Jesus’s actions always glorified God. If Jesus wouldn’t do it, we shouldn’t either.
Romans 6:13; 1 Peter 4:10-11
4. Seek Counsel
Pastors, teachers, friends and leaders can all be very helpful in making decisions. Don’t be afraid to ask those around you for advice and for their input on the situation. Be careful who you choose, and pray about their words afterwards.
Proverbs 1:5; Proverbs 11:14
5. Is it Challenging?
If you think that you can handle whatever comes next in your situation on your own, take a step back. We need God in all that we do. If it's something God doesn’t need to help you with, if it doesn’t challenge your faith, it might not be from God. If faith isn’t involved, how will people see the God you have faith in.
John 5:30; Hebrews 11:6
6. Patience and Trust
Have patience and trust in God. Sometimes we don’t receive the answers we want right away, but trust that God will guide you and keep His promises. If the desire you have grows over time, or you hear it repeatedly over time, take note of it.
Psalms 27:14; Psalms 32:8; Proverbs 3:5-6; Proverbs 19:2; Proverbs 19:21; Isaiah 58: 11; Jeremiah 29:11-13; James 1:5-6
God created you and loves you, His path will never harm you. He only wants His best for us. Don’t rush to make decisions because time can be a gift. So go forth, be a blessing and glorify God in all that you do!
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose”. –Romans 8:28 (NIV)
Has fear ever brought anything good to your life? Has it brought you peace, happiness, love? If it has, please let me know, because I want to fear what you fear. I have never gotten those things from fear. Fear has brought me regret, anxiety, loss, stress and pain, but none of these are good. None of these things are from God and, well, that’s because fear is not from God. In fact, God calls us not to fear!
But now, this is what the LORD says— he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine" - Isaiah 43:1
As children of God we have nothing to fear, so why do we still have fear in our lives?
Fear is Satan’s tactic to prevent us from doing the things we're called to do. It paralyzes us. When we give in to our fears and allow them to prevent us from doing something, we are letting Satan win.
Our fears are lies that we tell ourselves,
They won’t like ME.
I’m going to lose.
I’m going to get hurt.
I won’t have enough money.
They’ll make fun of ME.
All these fears are about us, and they are earthly fears. If we aren’t accepted, if we lose or go broke, it doesn’t change God’s love for us. They are things that only matter in this earthly life, but we know that this is only our temporary home.
Fear is nothing but distrust. For example, maybe we fear falling through a platform, that’s us not trusting that the platform will hold. When we fear things, we've lost our trust in God. God promises that He will provide for us, protect us and love us, and God never breaks his promises. So we have nothing to fear.
For I am the LORD your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, do not fear; I will help you”. – Isaiah 41:13
I leave you with this. Next time you have fear, don’t let it hold you back, turn the fear into trust in God. Use your fear as a reminder of the promises God has made you and that he hasn’t failed you yet. Turn your distrust to trust and your fear will disappear.