What is Discipleship?

  • 31 October 2017
  • MinistryLift blogger

Jesus was confident that the whole world could and would be transformed through a simple process which he called "making disciples".  

The plan was simple. His life would be reproduced in the lives of others. He would invite people to follow Him. Every person who responded in faith (believed in Him) would join His life group. He would reveal to them the culture of the Kingdom of God. As they spent time with Him, their life and character would become like His. They would learn how to live, love and serve like Jesus. When they were ready He would send them out to repeat and multiply this pattern. 

They would not go out alone. He would go with them by His Spirit. Where two or three were together in His name, He would be there, introducing the culture of the Kingdom of God and forming in them the character of Jesus Christ. His presence would ensure that every new group, every new disciple, was an accurate representation of the original image. Every group would reveal the Kingdom of God. Every disciple would learn to love, live and serve like Jesus. And, when they were ready, they too would be sent to multiply the pattern.

Jesus demonstrated that this could be done with any ordinary, unskilled group of people. The outcomes did not depend on their ability, but His love, His power, and His presence. He alone could reveal the culture of the Kingdom of God. He alone could transform the members of the group. In a relatively short period of time, through a life-on-life experience with Jesus, the culture of the group would be transformed and a seismic shift would take place. The disciples would take on the character of Jesus, their Master. Furthermore, they would know how to disciple others in the same way that Jesus has discipled them.

This reproductive process, guided by the Spirit, ensures that there will be consistent DNA throughout every new generation and the pattern makes exponential Kingdom growth a reality.

This is not just theory; it is a reality. It has been field tested and it works anywhere with anyone, reaching every tribe and nation. Lives are transformed. New people join. The group begins to multiply. Every member becomes a disciple who begins to look like Jesus. Light dispels the darkness. Truth dismantles the lies that have been the foundation of our lives, our culture, our world. Authenticity and holiness become a thing of beauty. The love experienced in these new communities becomes a treasure to be desired.

A Child Named Laughter

  • 16 December 2016
  • Keith Reed

Abraham, Sarah, 3 strangersI don’t anyone who would classify the Bible as a comedy, but many of its pages are filled with laughter.

For instance, God chooses a man named Abram (which means father) as his starting point for making a new nation. This sounds like an excellent choice except that his wife is barren. And as the years go by, God’s promise is threatened even further. When God decides to give new names to the white-haired couple, the situation becomes so ironic that it reaches comedic levels. The man is now called “Father of many” (Abraham) and his wife’s new name becomes “Noblewoman” (Sarah). Each of them laugh when they’re told they’ll have a son within the next year and I can’t help but think that I would have done the same thing. The comedy reaches its apex when God tells them to name their boy “Laughter” (Isaac). 

I used to think that Isaac got his name because his parents couldn’t control their giggles, but God often gives names as a testimony for what He will do. I can’t imagine Abraham laughing as he prepared to sacrifice his only son (Genesis 22:1-19), but perhaps it was Laughter’s name that helped the old man remember God’s promise. No matter how much our present circumstances may threaten God’s promises, they do not fully negate what He said He will do. 

Many years later, a pair of unsuspecting couples would share in the laughter that comes from seeing God do the impossible. The births of John (“Jehovah is a gracious giver”) and Jesus (“Jehovah is salvation”) proved yet again that nothing is too difficult for God (Genesis 18:14).

When we witness God do the impossible, the most fitting things to do are to laugh and to worship.

Question: What has God recently done in your life that has caused you to laugh and to worship?

Keith Reed is the Associate Director of MinistryLift at MB Seminary.