As I thought about what we were doing as a church and were our blindside might be, the idea of discipleship came to me rather quickly. The idea of discipleship comes in many different forms. Some see discipleship as the practice of talking to others about Jesus and God's Kingdom (either the first time or for the millionth time). In this thought, discipleship boils down to whether or not you find the courage, time, and commitment to share your faith with a stranger or close friend. Some see discipleship as those that will be involved and work hard for their church. In this thought, discipleship boils down to whether or not you find the courage, time, and commitment to give to your congregation to make it better. Some even see discipleship as being learned, dedicated participants in God's Kingdom. In this thought, discipleship boils down to whether or not you find the courage, time, and commitment to be a responsible, well-meaning, rule-following, student of Jesus Christ.
Discipleship is following. Plain and Simple. None of the following interpretations of Discipleship are wrong. However, none are a complete picture either. What we find in scripture through Jesus is that disciples are those that follow their master. When you follow Jesus you will want to share your faith, serve your church, pursue righteousness, and have an outside focus. Sometimes in American churches we either forget or downplay that last part. To elevate that last part over and above the other three is also a misstep when speaking about or practicing discipleship.
The idea of Cultivate is to cultivate our relationship with Jesus and by doing so we become his disciples and grow in our discipleship. When this happens there is an honest spiritual transformation that takes place. That transformation is a powerful Kingdom builder. We are not simply transformed only to be changed personally, but so that the world around us can be changed too.
When you follow the life of Christ through scripture he is constantly engaged with the Father. He is constantly sharing the love of the Father. He is invested in the lives of friends and followers. He is practicing kindness through serving the least of those in his society. And in the end He gives up his life because of these things he has practiced. And because of His sacrifice, Satan is defeated and the entire world, past, present, and future is transformed.
So our church will focus on the idea of that kind of dedication, service, growth, and transformation this year. Come journey with us!