Follow Up On Discipleship Forum
During last Sunday’s Congregational Forum, we introduced the One:Ten Team. Some people have helpfully asked, “What we heard on Sunday sounds interesting and encouraging, but what does that mean for the rest of us?”
Let me try to give an answer.
What is the One:Ten Team?
The One:Ten Team exists to develop a culture of discipleship at Harvest Church. We are defining discipleship as the process of learning Christ in faith and repentance so that we are growing like Christ in our actions, attitudes, and life’s agenda. When we say that we want to see a culture of discipleship at Harvest, we mean that we want to see the way we act and talk to be increasingly focused on learning and growing in Christ one step at a time.
Certainly, discipleship is already happening at Harvest! It’s happening as God’s Spirit takes God’s Word as it is spoken by God’s people in various settings and uses it to grow people in faith, love, endurance, understanding, and holiness. But as this increasingly becomes “the way we do things” at Harvest, we will start instinctually:
- Talking about the Scriptures in everyday conversation
- Praying for our own growth and opportunities to help others grow
- Asking ourselves, “What can I do to point someone to Christ this week?”
- Spending more time in the Word and Prayer ourselves because we are eager to grow
- Seeing Sunday as an opportunity to not just hear Christ spoken about to us in the sermon, but to encourage others by speaking about Christ
- Serving in different ministries because we see them as meaningful catalysts to help others grow in Christ
We want these attitudes and behaviors—and more like them—to become second nature to us as a church family.
To really learn these attitudes and behaviors, of course, we need to pray! The only way we will learn Christ is if God, by His Spirit, helps us. Even after we become Christians, he must give us the grace to grow!
But, while it is ultimately God who gives the growth, we read in Scripture that Paul and Apollos still planted and watered for growth by prayerfully speaking God’s Word (1 Corinthians 3:6)! God ordinarily works through means. In Scripture, we see that God’s preferred means for producing spiritual maturity in his people are His Word (declared in Scripture and displayed in the sacraments), His people, and their prayers. Therefore, as a church, we want to make the best use of these tools to help whoever passes through our doors to grow in Christ one step at a time.
This is where the One:Ten Team comes in. On a personal level, our team wants to be modelling an increasing intentionality about learning Christ for ourselves and others. Certainly, we’ll do this imperfectly, but we’re excited by what Jesus is teaching us and we hope we’ll prove contagious! That’s why we wanted to talk about some of the things we’re doing with our families and together on Sunday.
But on a church-wide level, the One:Ten Team is also looking at the effectiveness of our ministries and how they fit together. Running ministry programs is not the same thing as seeing people grow, but effective ministries will support growth happening because they will lean heavily upon God’s preferred means of growing his people. Effective ministries will also train people to think about how they can help others take the next step in learning Christ.
For this reason, as a team, we’re considering what our ministries are currently doing to make disciples and what they could be doing.
- Are our ministries effective in seeing disciples made and matured? If so, which ones?
- What should we be doing to equip leaders and future leaders to more promote effective disciple-making in our ministries?
- As a church, do we need to narrow our focus in anything?
- Do we have ministries in place that can help people move from one stage of knowing Christ to the next? Do we have ministries that would evangelize non-Christians, help establish new Christians, and equip Christians for service? Or, we have several different ministries all serving a similar purpose and a similar stage of growth?
- What would a roadmap toward maturity look like for someone who comes to Harvest as an unbeliever or a new Christian? Do we have one? Is it clear to the congregation? To visitors?
What Does This Mean For The Congregation?
After spending almost a year sharpening our convictions about discipleship, we’re now entering this phase of talking about the “big picture” of ministry at Harvest. Eventually, we’ll be making some recommendations to session as to how our ministry structures can better support this culture of disciple-making at Harvest.
At this point, however, we would love for the congregation to do three things:
- Be aware. The main thing we want to do at this point is to introduce you to the team and let you know this work is taking place behind the scenes. We’ll be sharing more about what we’re learning in the future!
- Be praying. Once you know a little bit about what is happening, we’d love for you to be praying for us and with us. Ask that God would help each team member grow as a learner of Christ, but also ask God to give us wisdom when thinking through the ministry we are doing so that we can make recommendations that will help Harvest carry out the Great Commission more effectively.
- Be learning. We would love for you to ask us questions about The Vine Project (the guide we’re using) and the work of our team. These discussions will help sharpen our thinking! You could also pick up a copy of The Vine Project to read for yourself (as an incentive, I have two free copies that I will give away to the first people who email me and promise to read it). Or, if you missed the forum on Sunday you can go back and listen to it here (go down to the ‘Harvest Sunday School Forum’ for September 25 to view).
We’re excited to think about what God might have in store for us as a congregation as we lean into the Great Commission together!
On behalf of the One:Ten Team,
P.S. The One:Ten Team members are Adrian Crum, Beau & Nicki Gotch, Trent Hordyk, Susan Nelson, Greg & Cindy Norfleet, Andy & Kim Roberts, Josh Van Dyke, and Nikki Veurink.
What I’m Reading
- The Heart of Anger: How the Bible Transforms Anger in Our Experience and Understanding by Christopher Ash – Though it started slow, this was one of the more challenging books that I read this summer. Not because it was dense! Ash’s gifts for clearly and perceptively applying the Bible are on display again in this work. Reading this book was challenging because Ash uses Scripture to hold up a mirror and show readers their own problems with anger. Thankfully, the book was as helpful as it was convicting.
- Resurrection by Leo Tolstoy – This is a 500-page trek through the Russian prison system as a young Russian prince seeks to atone for his sins against a young woman whose life he destroyed. I wasn’t sure what I was getting into when I picked it up, but reading Tolstoy seemed like something that I should try. Filled with vivid character descriptions, biting social commentary, and religious messages, I found the book enjoyable, but not excellent.
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