I’ve always been convinced that the best way to disciple people is when we are on mission; this was highlighted for me yesterday when one of our staff told her story.
Maybe we should tell more of our stories, but I love it when those outside of our community of faith tell them for us as we engage with them; I feel more comfortable with that, hey I’m a pastor and prone to exaggerate. Anyhow here’s a story that might help those of you who are constantly asking the question “what’s the deal when it comes to discipling people, what is the best model?”
Sharon who is our family support worker @ VCD went out to make a visit to a lady which was a referral through one of the many local social agencies we work with. That’s a whole other God story in itself. Sharon headed out with a befriender (befriender is a volunteer who will go out into our community with Sharon and lend support to someone, pray etc). They take some groceries for the lady they are visiting and then Sharon offers to pray for her, she accepts (Sharon has 100% record on people accepting prayer. Try it, most people say yes).
In the room Gods presence comes and Sharon prays; hope begins to rise for the lady and in a prophetic prayer God leads and gives direction to the conversation. Here’s the cool part, the befriender with Sharon is there, watching, listening and after the visit she turns to Sharon and says “I need to learn the listening to God part, as it’s totally new to me”. I don’t know where the befriender is on her spiritual journey as she has just started coming to the Vineyard but I do know from yesterday that she is a lot further on in her walk with God.
There is actually a model out there for Churches; I’ll give it to you without any coaching fee. Take a look at 1 Thessalonians 1: 2-10
We always thank God for all of you, mentioning you in our prayers. 3We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.
For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, 5because our gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction. You know how we lived among you for your sake. 6You became imitators of us and of the Lord; in spite of severe suffering, you welcomed the message with the joy given by the Holy Spirit. 7And so you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia. 8The Lord's message rang out from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia—your faith in God has become known everywhere. Therefore we do not need to say anything about it, 9for they themselves report what kind of reception you gave us. They tell how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, 10and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath.
The model is faith, hope and love, Paul said “The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.” (Gal 5:6) I want to encourage you, if you want to see disciples grow then teach them how to live by faith, be known by love and become dealers of hope in your community. When this happens people get hungry and become passionate followers of Christ. Here’s the result from the text. Paul describes this Church as a people who took people that once followed pagan gods to passionately follow Christ. Not bad eh?