Recently, a church-planter in Austin, Texas, Wade Hodges, suggested in a tweet that instead of asking ‘what kind of church do we want to be?’ we should ask ‘what kind of disciples do we want to form?’ and then become the kind of church that forms those kind of disciples (my paraphrase).
Well, that got me thinking about my ministry, specifically my ministry with the Randolph Church of Christ. What kind of disciples do I want us to be? What kind of disciples do I want those who will join our church to be?
Some might not see the importance of these questions so easily. They might ask “what other kind of disciples can Christians be other than disciples of Jesus Christ?” I understand such a point and wish being “a disciple of Jesus Christ” was such an easily understood concept but it’s not. There are plenty of people who call themselves Christians, who believe they are disciples of Jesus Christ and when you gather all these people together, what you find is a myriad of different understandings on what being a disciple of Jesus Christ really means and entails. And no, I am not trying to play God and decide who is a true disciple and who is not, who is a true Christian and who is not.
So I am asking the question, what sort of disciples do we want to form, be and become? Well, here is a starting list: I want us to become the sort of disciples who…
By faith live out of a biblical worldview, allowing the scriptures (Old & New Testament) to shape our lives not as we try not to replicate a bygone historical period of God’s people but as we strive to be God’s people living out God’s mission in our own time and place.
By faith live the life Jesus Christ lived by becoming humble servants who sacrifice ourselves for the sake of other; who pursue values like justice, peace, righteousness, mercy, etc…as we allow God to reign in us and through us so the world will know that Jesus Christ is the Lord and Savior.
By faith live out of the love and grace of God knowing that our salvation depends solely upon the blood of Jesus and not our some perceived dogmatic pattern of first-century Christianity deduced through selective proof-texts of scripture; that such an awareness of God’s love and grace will permeate our lives so that we become conduits of God’s love and grace towards others.
By faith live through the power of the Holy Spirit knowing that we are complete inadequate for the calling of God’s mission on our own wisdom, ingenuity, and strength but knowing that by the power of God’s Spirit in accordance with the Spiritual gifts we have been given that we can accomplish far more than our wildest imaginations can comprehend.
Of course, this list is not meant to be exhaustive, complete, official, or anything else other than some unofficial out-loud thoughts on the question of what sort of disciples do we want to form, be and become.
As I thought about my responses to this question, it dawned on me just what the implications then are for my preaching/teaching, mentoring and equipping others for the mission of God, and my own leadership (influence) as a preacher/evangelist is.
I am excited…the mission of God is exciting…God is exciting!