It is important for each Christ-follower to be engaged in a lifelong journey of being and making Christlike disciples. Christians need to be committed to guiding other Christ-followers to become more and more like Christ. Hal Perkins’ book Walk with Me challenges us to ask some searching questions. “Do I meet frequently with Jesus and other Christlike disciples? Am I being informed, formed, and transformed by Jesus while looking at successes and struggles in following Jesus? Am I meeting with Jesus privately as well as ministering with Jesus and maturing in my walk with Jesus alongside family and friends?”
Discipleship involves helping someone else follow Jesus more closely. Thus, Christ-followers need to meet frequently with Jesus and other Christlike disciples. So we spend time together with other Christ-followers thanking and praising Jesus. Together, we talk with Jesus and confess our struggles to Him. We learn to listen to Him through God’s Word, God’s Spirit, and God’s people. Regularly, we report to one another our experiences as we walk with Jesus, and we build relationships centered on Jesus and being His disciples.
One of our Nazarene Discipleship International (NDI) core principles is intentional mentoring and equipping. Jesus’ method of discipleship was through personal mentoring and equipping of a chosen group of individuals. These methods not only helped Christianity grow but also transformed society.
Every disciple needs to be receiving and providing mentoring. Mentoring and equipping is a discipleship process that first introduces new believers to Jesus and reveals how to follow Him personally and fully. Mentoring is also a loving way to teach accountability and introduce non-believers to Christ. Through mentoring, new disciples are challenged to continually grow and become more and more Christlike. Mentoring, which involves equipping others on the journey of discipleship, is essential to Christian growth and maturity.
Transformed by Jesus
Discipleship begins by first leading individuals into personal relationships with Jesus Christ. Their faith journey begins with confession of sin and forgiveness by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. Then they realize they are new creatures in Christ, regenerated and adopted into the family of God. Regeneration produces changed hearts and changed lifestyles with testimonies of God’s grace to those they know. Thereafter, discipleship continues as a process of being informed, formed, and transformed by Jesus.
As Christ-followers, we prayerfully invite new believers to become a part of our formal and informal discipleship groups. We invest our lives in these disciples as we seek the Lord together. Story-centered methods of teaching the Bible in small groups provide a solid biblical foundation for enabling disciples to learn the Bible and pass its message on to their circle of influence. Prayer, the Word of God, and intentionally helping each other to be more like Jesus characterize dynamic discipleship in the church.
Meeting with Jesus
We best describe the Christian life as a close personal relationship with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. So we encourage all believers to learn to seek daily the presence of God. Intentional disciples grow best in the likeness of Christ as they spend time with Him. Thus, we listen daily for Christ’s voice. We feed daily on His Word. We enjoy His daily presence. Christlike disciples intentionally seek Him and readily share Him with those whose lives they touch.
We urge believers to use every means available to grow and develop their personal faith. Some of these are: reading the Bible with study helps; listening to the Bible on audio files; praying daily; listening to Christian music; reading Christian literature; finding accountability partners who will pray every day that you will be Christlike; finding accountability partners who love you so much that they will ask you hard questions; and developing the discipline of regularly telling others what God is doing in your life.
Journeying with Others
In the same way that Jesus gathered traveling companions around Himself, we must challenge His contemporary disciples to journey together as members of the Body of Christ. Another of our Nazarene Discipleship International (NDI) core principles is “Authentic Relationships.” Everyone committed to the Great Commission should be engaged in relationships that honor God and edify the Body of Christ.
The core of our faith and life is to love God and love others. When we know we are unconditionally loved by God and unconditionally loved by one another, unity in the Body of Christ results. This unconditional love knows no cultural, generational, or structural bounds. However, this unconditional love is made possible only through the working of the Holy Spirit.
When we deeply care for one another, we discover just how rich our identity is in Christ, and spiritual growth results. Such loving relationships help us walk the path of holiness because we are receiving both encouragement and loving correction. These Spirit-enabled relationships are necessary as we support one another in living a fully surrendered and Spirit-filled life.
What do you think?
Would you share with us how you are being discipled and how you are discipling others? Each of us has a particular area of ministry that provides the context of our being and making disciples. Would you share ways you are finding success in your context? Please communicate with me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fri, 08/12/2022 – 13:28