- Today, what would you celebrate today about your missional community?
- Today, what would you confess or lament about your missional community?
- Today, what are you hopes for your missional community?
Scripture: Matthew 28:16-20
Simple Prayer: God, whether we come to you doubting or full of faith, let us find the courage and wisdom to be disciples who make disciples wherever we go.
Jesus and Discipleship: First and foremost, we follow Jesus. He is at the center of all we do and our primary reason for doing it. We find room for community and shared mission with anyone who is (re)orienting their life toward Jesus. Jesus is Savior, Lord, and Head of the church. He is the source of hope, joy, and life. He is full of grace and truth. He is fully human, demonstrating what it is to be human and modeling the full potential of human life. He is fully God revealing completely who God is. Through Jesus we come to know the character, mission, power, and heart of God. Jesus is to be at the center of our work and worship. Forgiveness of sin and reconciliation between people and God are only possible through Jesus. In his death on the cross and resurrection from the grave, he is the victor over sin and death, the perfect atoning sacrifice for sin, and our living example to follow. He invites people still to follow him. Jesus is making all things new! Each of us needs Jesus. And by the power of the Holy Spirit, Jesus is present with us. He promised his presence whenever two or three of us gather in his name. One of the central tasks of those who follow Jesus is to discern his presence when we gather. (Matthew 5:13-16, Matthew 18:18-20, Luke 10:1-13, John 14:6-7, Acts 1:8, Acts 2:36, Ephesians 5:21, II Peter 3:18, I John 1:8-2:2, Revelation 5:1-14)
Jesus commissioned his disciples to make disciples. He was a rabbi, and in that day, rabbis commonly had disciples. The successful result of rabbinic discipleship was that the disciples became like the rabbi. In the modern church, making disciples is often confused it with evangelism or conversion. But it is possible to believe the good news about Jesus and claim Christianity without becoming a disciple. For that matter, being a disciple may precede becoming a Christian (as it did with the first disciples). Others confuse discipleship with church activity or becoming educated about Christianity. But discipleship is better understood as learning to imitate Jesus. Church activities may or may not help with that.
We believe that Jesus’ strategy for mission and ministry is revealed through his discipling work. Jesus made disciples who would make disciples (who would make disciples). His method of discipleship was to live and walk with his disciples in an intentional manner so that they would learn from him how to live like him. In the Great Commission, Jesus commissioned them (and by extension, us) to do the same. (Matthew 28:16-20). Over the course of the gospels, Jesus intentionally spent time to nourish his relationship with the Father (Up), intentionally invested himself into a group of twelve (In), and intentionally brought them with him to address the needs in the world. (Out.) We believe living up-in-and-out in community is an effective, fruitful, and more faithful way to practice discipleship.
The commission to make disciples comes at the end of Matthew. The disciples meet the risen Lord Jesus on a mountain. As they come, some are doubting, but all of them worship him. (That’s a very encouraging thing if you’ve ever struggled with faith). Over the previous three years, Jesus had shown them how he did ministry. He had involved them in ministry. He had sent them out to minister like he had. Over time, they had learned from Jesus how to live like Jesus. Now he was sending them out to make disciples in the same way he had shown them. In Matthew 28:18 Jesus says to his disciples, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore, as you go, make disciples of all people…” So the way Jesus wants to make disciples involves sending out imperfect (even doubting) disciples who would show others how to be disciples. Jesus sent them to make disciples, and by extension he sends us.
Reflection and Practice:
- Have you come to know Jesus better through your missional community?
- What’s your definition of disciple?
- When have you noticed Jesus presence with us? What were we doing?
- How does being together in community help us imitate Jesus?
- How has not being together impacted your discipleship?
- Is there anything you need to do in response? When and how will you do it?