This year our theme is "Mission: Discipling"
Every Christian needs to consider this topic carefully. In Canada there has never been a time where there has been such a decline in the measurable characteristics of discipleship in the church. We need to rediscover a passionate love for Jesus so that we can inspire others in their journey of discovering him. Discipling is the engine of mission. God, in his wisdom, chooses to do his work through us.
To help us, we’ll be looking at the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20). To paraphrase: “In your going, make disciples.” Our goal at this conference is to shift your attention from the “Go” of the verse to the “make disciples” part. Realistically, this is the part of the verse that people find most daunting. After all, how many of us have gone on a short-term mission trip? Buying the ticket to go was easy, but did we make disciples?
We believe that a disciple is a follower of Jesus who lives in submission to him; who strives to do the things that Jesus does, say the things that Jesus says, believe the things that Jesus believes within a community of love, to be a blessing to the world.
We also intentionally didn’t say Discipleship, because we want to emphasize the verb. Discipling is a process that we’re all called into as children of God. Discipling flows out of our deepening experience of abiding in Jesus (John 15:1-18). It’s exciting because it’s a journey towards abundant life in Jesus that we’re on, and that we can help others on, too. With that in mind, it’s helpful to imagine that we’re introducing Jesus (living in us) to our friends, even before there is a “moment” of accepting Jesus Christ as their saviour.
Threads of Discipleship
As casual as sharing our lives with others can be, there is an aspect of discipling that’s intentional. It’s helpful to see discipling in the broad context of the Christian life.
A local church has come up with a framework called “Threads of Discipleship” (Thanks, Tap!) which paints a landscape that surrounds an individual who is abiding in Christ (see diagram). Discipling and being a disciple are not individualistic endeavours. You’ve heard the saying: “It takes a village to raise a child.” In the same way, it takes the whole church to raise a disciple. Look at the landscape. As Christians we have a church community, the bible, traditions of the church, works of service, spiritual disciplines, and the work of the Holy Spirit in us. These "threads" surround us and nurture our growth, while we nurture the growth of others.