THE PATH OF DISCIPLESHIP
Shepherding Spiritual Growth and Leadership in the Body of Christ.
VOL #1 IN THE PATH OF DISCIPLESHIP SERIES • The Invitation to Navigate Spiritual Growth.
Journey with me on the Path of Jesus as I personally discover spiritual formation in my own life! We are each called to lead others to Jesus. We are also told to go and make disciples. In your personal life, or perhaps, leadership role as a pastor, elder, counselor, group leader, supervisor, or parent, are you leading in the way of our culture or the way of Jesus? This is the starting point of my own journey to become a true apprentice of Jesus Christ. I invite you to join me on what I believe will be epic adventure in becoming stronger in our faith, intentional in our walk, and on mission with Jesus.
Active vs Passive Christianity
For me personally... This journey started through a sense of urgency that the Lord has been laying on my heart. He has placed in me an overwhelming desire to bring the kind of pastoral care, and challenge, to Leaders and followers of Jesus that will catapult our daily living to the next level.
There has never been a more important time or culture where the need for passionate leaders to engage Christianity with the calling to be disciples and followers of Jesus. There is no question that we in churchianity have coined the phrase “Follower of Jesus” as the branding for our constituency but, have we been all to passive as a people and as ministers of the Gospel to make disciples who truly understand what it means to embark on the journey and life pursuit of following Him?
It would seem to me that often the designation of “disciple” has been diluted to a passive identification of “church goer.” Unfortunately, It is leadership who responsible for this cultural idiom and it is our responsibility to cultivate spiritual formation and discipleship in the Body of Christ. (I am taking responsibility for my part in this!)
So, let’s answer the first question. What does it mean to be a disciple of Jesus? Put simply, it means you re-organize your life around three pursuits: Being with Jesus, Becoming like Jesus, and doing what Jesus did! That’s really all there is to it! But we must shift in a way that it becomes our devotion and entire life's pursuit. It is not just an event on a Sunday, but a “way” of life in community around the teachings of Jesus. To live this way means we need to be transformed, from the inside out.
Is this kind of deep, authentic radical change of character possible? Really? Even in the chaos of the modern, culture? The answer is: absolutely yes. Through teaching, practice, community, and the Holy Spirit, we can recover our calling, our mission, and the intent of Christ for our lives as we truly follow Him. The overwhelming voice of the Holy Spirit’s heart for me and for this new season is to become engaged, active and vibrant in a lost and dying culture. No longer passive in our service and devotion to Him and our mission to “GO” making disciples.
Matthew 28:19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
The question of 'What does is mean to become a disciple; is one that has lately been imprinted on my heart and it has been stirring new direction for my personal life and ministry!
So, as I embark on the journey of what I call “Shepherding Discipleship” and “Spiritual Growth,” I would like to contrast "cultural discipleship" with "Jesus style Discipleship" and spiritual growth.
The Cultural Way vs The Jesus Way.
The way of our culture is to take charge, push to get ahead, and strive to get what you want. Following this path can appear to produce results, but it takes a heavy toll on me and everyone around me. ~ It will inevitably leave you feeling exhausted, alone, and burnt out.
The way of Jesus is to abandon outcomes to God.
The Great Servant of All - Jesus shows us what submission to his Father looks like in leadership by releasing the results of relationships and circumstances to his Fathers foresight and intervention, His care and wisdom. Over and over he said, "I only do what I see the Father doing" (John 5:19, paraphrased).
Jesus shows us a leader who is gentle and humble in heart, yoked to God’s leadership (Matthew 11:28-30). He put first priority on intimacy with the Father and he kept submitting himself to the Father’s lead so that his life and leadership flowed in the currents of the Father’s love and wisdom. Again... As stated earlier, Jesus spent time in the presence of the Father. Then being like the Father, and then doing what His Father would do.
It has at times been my personal experience and an observation of Cultural Leaders that bring us to a point where we will eventually throw in the Towel and start over. It becomes a reboot to start our system again in hopes that new changes will spark better productivity in building the church and so as leaders it has become all too easy to throw the towel in the ring. However...
Spiritual Leaders Pick Up a Towel and Wash Feet!
The way of our culture is to hurry. The phrase “Git’er Done!” Has been all too frequently used and neglects true Discipleship! We hurry to get more done. We hurry to get where we want to go. We are often driven by a relationship to performance, but when we hurry, we lose touch with God, Step out of His flow, and we neglect to care for the people around us.
The way of Jesus is an unhurried presence. His Labor is to enter into Rest!
When Jesus picked up a towel to wash his disciples’ feet at the Last Supper, he wasn’t doing something religious. He was being present with them and serving them by simply doing what needed to be done and cleaning their dirty feet (John 13:1-17). It was a model for how we could operate from the total rest and refreshing that comes from Him. Is it any wonder that the disciple whom Jesus loved was relaxed enough to lay his head on the breast of Jesus?
This kind of restful, refreshing, unhurried kindness, exemplifies how Jesus lived his whole life. Being unhurried and at rest in the Father helped Jesus to care for the people around him.
Practice Rest & Learn His Tempo, to Disciple others!
My personal challenge has always been entering into the restful state that Jesus modeled.
To follow the way of Jesus in your leadership role requires resisting the hurried, "make it happen" mentality of our culture. Instead, we’re to be caring shepherds, not seeking selfish gain, but humbly submitting to God and serving others. This is the way of our Good Shepherd (1 Peter 5:1-5).
Hebrews 4:9-12 “There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief. For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow; and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”
Practical Application for Shepherding Others.
The first priority is to slow your role, learn His tempo! Ask yourself, “Does my Labor to rest lack intention?” Does my Prayer life lack devotion and intention? In conversations with your connections, (Those He has given you). Do I practice waiting on God in prayer before an important decision. Before a conversation. To begin a staff meeting, small group, or family gathering. Even just a few minutes meditating on Scripture and waiting on God in prayer — whether you are alone or with a group, These are the one’s the Lord has given you to lead!
The challenge for each of us becomes… Will we lead like Jesus?
Shepherding Discipleship & Spiritual Growth, Becoming Intentional in our relationship with Jesus and others, and walking the Path of Jesus is becoming the central focus behind everything we do.
We hope you will join us on this journey!
In His Grip!
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John is Pastor at The Redeemed Adventure Project and Author of various Adventure Journals, Fireside Challenges, and Blogs excerpts from books he written over the last 12 years.