photo courtesy of yoppy
As you try to "define purpose" of our small groups, think on this - Dallas Willard once said, "Discipleship is the process of becoming the person Jesus would be if he were you." As we take up the challenge to become disciples of Jesus and train others to do the same, we need to model our lives after Jesus himself.
Jesus is our model
Jesus lived out his life in three dimensions. He had three great loves: His love for his Father, his disciples and the lost.
Luke 6:12-19 provides a succinct view of all three dimensions in the life of Jesus:
In these days he went out to the mountain to pray, and all night he continued in prayer to God. And when day came, he called his disciples and chose from them twelve, whom he named apostles: Simon, whom he named Peter, and Andrew his brother, and James and John, and Philip, and Bartholomew and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon who was called the Zealot, and Judas the son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.
And he came down with them and stood on a level place, with a great crowd of his disciples and a great multitude of people from all Judea and Jerusalem and the seacoast of Tyre and Sidon, who came to hear him and to be healed of their diseases. And those who were troubled with unclean spirits were cured. And all the crowd sought to touch him, for power came out from him and healed them all.
Look Up to God
The secret of success in Christ's kingdom is the ability to pray. Prayer was as fundamental an element in the life of Jesus as breathing. Through prayer, Jesus was in constant contact with his Father, whom he spoke of in a very personal, intimate and familiar way. Jesus introduced his disciples to this very personal relationship with God, calling them into the same kind of intimacy with the Father that he had. Our identity flows from the one who gives us life. Our relationship with the Father is the source of our core identity, sons and daughters of God.
Look In to Multiple Leaders
Jesus built a midsize group of followers. He appointed and sent 70 to prepare hearts for his coming kingdom (Luke 10:1-9). From that extended family he chose the Twelve, whom he named apostles. Within that inner circle, he had three close friends – Peter, James and John. Jesus interacted with his disciples in a variety of life settings. He loved his disciples and specifically trained them to be like him and continue his kingdom movement. Multiplying leaders was Jesus' priority. Success was not about size, but rather succession.
Look Out to the Lost
Jesus never lost sight of his Father's vision and heart – to reach out to a dark and dying world. Jesus walked among the crowds – teaching, feeding, healing, comforting. Jesus did not wait for the spiritually dead to come to him. He went to them and ministered to them at their point of need. Jesus equipped his disciples with the understanding that they were part of God's rescue team. As the Father sent him, he sent them (John 20:21).
It's easy for each of us to become one-sided in our approach to ministry. We all have our natural gifts that tend to come out most when we invest in God's kingdom. Step back and consider how you can be a more three dimensional disciple-maker. When one dimension is missing or suppressed, the other two do not work as they should. Ask God and some close friends to give you feedback. Discipleship is the process of being the person Jesus would be if he were you.
Author:Paul Schlieker www.bible-study-lesson-plans.com
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