Discipleship is the process where we embrace a new and better way to live – where we learn to focus who we are on loving God and displaying the values of His Kingdom to others. It is an ongoing and ever-developing relationship with God more than a destination to be found. Taking this journey together is the essence of what it means to be a church.
Although discipleship at its core cannot be fully captured by a finite set of steps, we believe that a helpful way to think about it is an inward, outward, and together journey. In this post, my hope is to provide a framework for us to follow on our outward journey – actively showing the love of Jesus to others in our daily lives.
As always, one of my main roles in the church is to support, assist, and encourage you in knowing and following Jesus. I would be more than happy to meet with you if doing so will help you to better develop a rhythm of discipleship in your life!
Serving with you,
A Framework for the Outward Journey :: Showing the love of Jesus
Establish a rhythm of regularly being present in a geographic space for the sake of mission.
God is already at work in the lives of people all around us. The question for us to consider as disciples of Jesus is, “Are we looking for ways to join God in this?” Being present for the sake of mission can take on a variety of shapes and is limited only to your imagination. Some examples may be eating at the same restaurant every Wednesday evening with your family – asking to be seated with the same server each time. Taking your children to the same park each Tuesday afternoon at 2:00pm. Eating your lunch at work in the break room instead of alone at your desk. Prayer walking your own neighborhood every Sunday evening, stopping to talk with neighbors. Joining a running club, a softball team, frequenting a game shop, or leveraging some other hobby/natural interest to form authentic relationships with others. The key is making this a regular and consistent rhythm where you can interact with the same people each time, looking to form deepening relationships with them. Pray specifically for the people you anticipate seeing before you go, asking God to open up space for you to show Christlike love. Affirm to God that you are making yourself available to Him, and ask Him to give you discernment in knowing what to say and do. Don’t try to “seal the deal” in sharing the Gospel or try to “fix” the people you are coming to know. Simply grow to deeply love them and from this posture speak about Jesus.
Establish a pattern of Kingdom living based on unity and reconciliation by getting to know others with different socio-economic, cultural, or racial backgrounds than you.
The Bible was written over thousands of years involving various people groups in order to give a more complete picture of who God is. We cannot hope to know God and to know how to engage the world around us with the Gospel if we only understand and can relate with people who are similar to us. In a world full of divisiveness, we must learn to bridge gaps and be reconcilers if we are to display the love of Jesus to others. To do this, we must go out of our way to meet and care about different types of people. To show the love of Jesus is to tear down walls of division, loving all people not just in word, but in deed.
Follow in the footsteps of Jesus by loving the lonely, poor, marginalized, and forgotten.
We have received right standing with God – we have been adopted as His children – because Jesus sought us out even though we spiritually had nothing to offer. We were in utter poverty. Whether we visit the elderly, befriend someone with far less than we have financially – helping to make ends meet when we can, sponsor a child in Guatemala and write to them on a regular basis, or if we simply stop and introduce ourselves – offering to go buy food – when someone asks us for money in the grocery store parking lot, there are numerous ways to intentionally imitate the love that we have received from Jesus as we interact with those pushed aside by our culture.
Prioritize the next generation by helping the children in our city to know and follow Jesus.
Discipleship transcends our own lifetimes as we look forward to God’s eternal Kingdom. Whether you are serving as a mentor to a local high school student, teaching regularly in MetroKids, loving the children in your neighborhood, volunteering at an after-school program, or reading with kids at the Ball 46201 missional community, there are plenty of ways to join God as He makes Himself known to those who are coming after us as disciples of Jesus.