Unpacking Our Vision – Park 3: Deepening Discipleship

Unpacking our Vision Part 3

Deepening Discipleship

Discovering more about God, life and faith in ongoing learning through fellowship, study and prayer, and allowing our faith to make a difference to the world in the way we live.

Being a Disciple

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.”

Psalm 32:8, NIV

What is a disciple?
A follower of Christ; a learner, student, apprentice.
A believer who seeks to live the way Christ taught. being a disciple is to be one who seeks to do what is right and true by God by looking to God as teacher and guide. And Christ, as God incarnate, is our go-to for learning of how to live our lives as disciples of Christ.

Everyone a Disciple

Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you.

Matt 28:19-20a, NRSV

As we read that the disciples were called to make disciples of all nations, the gospel affirmation is clear being a disciple of Christ extends beyond national boundaries. All can be disciples and are disciples there is space for everyone to be a disciple.  Everyone of you who are reading this, and everyone in Bognor Regis and beyond.

Disciples not Perfectionists

But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus knees, saying, “Go away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man!” Then Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching people.” When they had brought their boats to shore, they left everything and followed him

Luke 5:8, 10b-11, NRSV

The disciples started out with little, just look at Peter who put his foot in it regularly, nearly drowned, ran away when Jesus needed him most and then denied him.

Yet in his imperfection, mistakes and regrets, Peter was called and used by God regardless, including the iconic Pentecost sermon where 3000+ were added to the churches number. Jesus doesn’t call us to be perfect examples to others, but to be the human beings God made and called good. Disciples start where they are and are simply willing and hungry to learn.

Lifelong Learners

The older I get, the more I learn I don’t know.

To be a disciple and to recognise our imperfections, is to embrace the truth that we are always learning, always growing in knowledge, experience and understanding.

An intelligent mind acquires knowledge,
  and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge

Proverbs 18:15

Or to paraphrase: The more we know, the more we know we have more to know. that is discipleship. That is lifelong learning. Humbling ourselves to learn and grow and be open to God’s Spirit teaching us.

Always Digging Deeper

All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that everyone who belongs to God may be proficient, equipped for every good work

2 Timothy 3:16-17

Scripture is of course a go-to for learning as lifelong disciples. It is useful, filled with stories of people who sought to make sense of how God was relevant in their communities and contexts.

Today, the dynamic life of scripture continues to breathe life into our lives, as we continue to discover more of God in its pages. But let us know forget that scripture is not the only place we can encounter God. I would argue that while scripture has significant importance, we can encounter God – learn more of God and deepen our lives as disciples of Christ through anything and everything.

Books, media, posters, people, the beauty of architecture, natural and human made prayer, musi, the list is endless. Where we work, or spend our week is our mission field and the place in which God has placed us and can and will show up and speak to us.

The important thing, it seems to me, is that daily, we are open to being disciples who are seeking to go deeper to be every-day disciples. Attentive and looking out for where God may be encouraging, challenging and speaking to us, and transforming us and the world.

Deepening as Disciples Together

All who believed were together and had all things in common; 45 they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need. Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having the goodwill of all the people. And day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved”

Acts 2:44-47

These words at the end of Acts 2 always inspire me. They speak of a community who, on discovering Christ, who simply loved spending time together, sharing life together in worship and service, and growing as disciples together.

Being a disciple is not something to be endured on our own, but to be enjoyed as part of the gift of the community of disciples God calls us to be part of.

Living Disciples

Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am,
there will my servant be also. Whoever serves me, the Father will honour

John 12: 26

So, let us journey on,
as a community of lifelong learning disciples,
as everyday disciples,
with all our imperfections,
attentive to God through all of life,
worshipping, serving and following
as we deepen our faith
and join in with what God is doing,
making disciples and transforming our world.

So, what does all this mean for us at BRMC?

  • We embrace and affirm the wonder that is being a community of disciples.
  • We recognise we are at many different stages of life, and journeys as Christ’s disciples, so need to support each other just as the early church did.
  • To celebrate our diversity and difference and learn from God through it as lifelong learners.
  • We seek to get involved in what God is doing through mission and evangelism, to make disciples and transform God’s world.

Questions for reflection and discussion

  • Have you found this article helpful?
  • What would you add if you were to talk about Deepening Discipleship?
  • What do you disagree with? Let’s get talking!

Below are some questions to get us thinking, praying and talking together!

  • How do you identify as a disciple?
  • Where do you live out your discipleship through the week?
  • Where do you find you encounter God?
  • Consider if you would like to join (or start a new!) house, prayer or fellowship group to help you dig deeper as disciples in community with other.
  • How does the life of BRMC help you in your discipleship?
  • How could we shape the BRMC community to help you more?