Verge Network:

The cost of non-discipleship is great for scores of people in the church sitting comfortably right now under the banner of Christianity, but have never counted the cost of following Christ—many eternally deceived.

There’s great cost for all who settle for casual association with Jesus and miss out on the abundance and satisfaction and joy that he has designed for us. There’s a cost that comes to monotonous routine Christianity.

We focus on discipleship for the lost. We focus on discipleship in order to reach the people who haven’t heard. Discipleship and missions are not opposite strategies. They are the same.

Dirty Diapers and Discipleship

Robby Gallaty —  September 24, 2014

Thoughts From Fab:

I’m not a mom, so, stop me if I’m wrong, but I’m guessing that maybe sometimes it’s hard to see changing diapers as discipleship.
I work for a church. I run a program that develops women. I have weekly appointments to counsel women and I teach classes about the gospel. It’s easy for me to see ‘discipleship’ stamped on my day.

But what is discipleship, really? It’s meeting someone where they are and helping them conform morefully to the truths of God revealed in Christ. And if that’s true, there are some crazy things you should know about the human brain that might change how you view diaper changing.

The time for discipleship starts when you are saved. Everyone starts somewhere, and starting with Biblical discipleship will create a firm foundation for new believers.

Chasing Community

Robby Gallaty —  September 22, 2014

Ed Stetzer:

So as we think about community, I think it is very helpful to consider what discipleship is and what it is not. In Better Discipleship: 5 Broken Views of Discipleship and How to Fix Them, I examine five incorrect view of discipleship that we should avoid if we want to create healthy church communities.
Community should be the by-product of every healthy church.

In brief, I looked at the dangers when:

1. We Equate discipleship with Religious knowledge.
2. We try to program discipleship.
3. We equate discipleship with our preaching.
4. We think we grow without effort.
5. We don’t offer practical steps.

Well said. Discipleship and community should go together.

In 1 Thessalonians 2, Paul described the way he nurtured new believers in Thessalonica. As we consider this passage over the next two weeks, let’s look at seven keys that are essential for fostering dynamic Gospel relationships.

You and I can have meaningful Gospel relationships when we:

1. Share the Gospel through adversity.

For you yourselves know, brothers,[a] that our coming to you was not in vain. But though we had already suffered and been shamefully treated at Philippi, as you know, we had boldness in our God to declare to you the gospel of God in the midst of much conflict. (1 Thessalonians 2: 1-3) ESV 

Paul and Silas endured incredible hardship for the sake of the Gospel. Even on the occasions when they were beaten with rods and imprisoned, they continued to share the good news of Jesus Christ. They carried on “in much affliction” with as much joy as they did in good health.

If you are committed to sharing Christ and making disciples, it will cost you. It will require sacrifice at some level. You may not be beaten or imprisoned, but it will cost you – things like time, money, inconveniences, and heartache. 

2. Share the Gospel with integrity. 

For our appeal does not spring from error or impurity or any attempt to deceive, but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts. For we never came with words of flattery, as you know, nor with a pretext for greed—God is witness. Nor did we seek glory from people, whether from you or from others, though we could have made demands as apostles of Christ. (1 Thessalonians 2: 3-6) ESV

You can’t read this passage without seeing the integrity, Godly character, and sincerity with which Paul and his co-workers ministered to these new believers. They weren’t in it for any kind of personal gain, they didn’t have any hint of selfish motivation, and they weren’t looking to receive any kind of accolades for their effort. More than anything else, their desire was to please GOD!

3. Share the Gospel in love.

But we were gentle among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children. So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us. . (1 Thessalonians 2: 7-8) ESV

Paul and his co-workers really loved these people! Dr. Pete Charpentier helps us understand this:

“As a mother who compassionately cares for her children, Paul made every effort to be gentle with these new believers.”

They shared not only the Gospel of GOD, but also their very lives! Why? Because these new believers had become “very dear” to him!

The motivation for Gospel work must be the love of Christ. Paul elaborates on this in 2 Corinthians:

14 For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died. (2 Corinthians 5:14) ESV

Walk in love, with perseverance, and with integrity this week, and join us again next week as we continue our examination of what fosters dynamic Gospel relationships! You are all in my thoughts and prayers, brothers and sisters!