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Path for Discipleship

Jesus ultimately calls people to Himself to be transformed, so as His church we exist to move all people toward Him. When He calls people to Himself He calls us to be His disciples – followers who seek to grow perpetually with other disciples of Jesus in understanding , faith, love and obedience. So whatever we do as a church, we want everything we do to be part of a clear path of following and loving Jesus and intentionally helping others do the same.

Ministry Summary Plan
The overall way we intend to accomplish our Mission is by discipleship. We call this our Mission Path. Knowing Jesus is not simply a matter of praying a prayer like flipping a switch. It’s not less than that but it is much, much more. It is turning away from seeking to be your own god and trusting Jesus to be your God and Savior, both now and forever. It is a never-ending relationship!

Jesus calls people to Himself. He has not merely called us to ideas (while knowing Him does change how we think). And He has not merely called us to behaviors (though trusting Him changes how we live). He has primarily called us to Himself in the way that a Bridegroom calls His bride to a marriage. So Jesus calling us to Himself is a totally life-altering relationship.

The Bible speaks of following a way of living, a path, a Person. In our radically individualistic culture this is being lost at best, and it is being despised at worst. Individualism is the native language of our culture where the ultimate goal is to be able to do whatever you want, with no obstacles and no one to challenge your decisions or desires. But true Christianity is being saved from self-will and being ruled by the one and only True God, our King.

This way of living has to be learned. The very word disciple means follower, learner or pupil. By our fallen condition it is not our nature to joyfully follow another person’s will. In our sin and selfishness, our ultimate allegiance is only to ourselves. But rescued by Jesus, we are delivered from Satan’s dominion and transferred into His Kingdom. And born of Jesus’ Spirit – as the One who joyfully followed His Father’s will – He transforms us into people who joyfully follow Him. But this is not something we think up; it comes from outside our own heart and thinking. We need Jesus’ work in our hearts and to learn of Jesus, just as He said, “Come to me, and learn of me…”

Therefore we want to help people learn how to personally relate to Jesus on a daily basis. Take devotional habits for example. Personal practices like Bible reading and prayer are not ways we “check a box” and God likes us more. The Gospel teaches us that we do not develop a righteous record and give it to God so that He owes us. Instead, God in Christ has developed a righteous record and given it to us so that now we know and enjoy Him. So reading the Bible is not a spiritual chore; it’s a personal privilege – we get to hear God’s own words to us! Praying is not an effort to get God to bless our agenda and priorities; it’s personally talking with the Lord and seeking His will.

This way of living – which is actually a new identity – has to be modeled like an apprenticeship. Jesus is committed to renewing us into His likeness. And following Jesus is less of an event and more a lifestyle trajectory. It is so much more than a single decision; it is a perpetual mindset. And because following Jesus is inherently personal, this cannot be learned merely from reading a book or just attending large meetings. Like a communicable disease that can only be caught by direct personal contact, we believe Jesus wants to put us in touch with people. This is only one of the reasons we believe that being part of a small group is critical.

And lastly, the benefits of Jesus’ love in your life were meant for more people than just you. He desires that this way of living be passed on to others life-on-life. Jesus does not only call people to Himself; He also calls us as His people to invest in the lives of others that they also could become His disciples. This doesn’t just happen. It has to be intentionally pursued. Relationships have to be cultivated. This will require that those who already trust and follow Jesus intentionally work to help others learn also. It is not enough that you are saved and escape judgment. He saves us to share in His Mission of loving and saving others. So whatever we do as a church, we want everything we do to be part of a clear path of following and loving Jesus and intentionally helping others do the same.