2020 Vision for Discipleship
The core of Vision 2020 is focused on a renewed desire to be obedient to Jesus’ instruction to “go and make disciples,” Mat 28v19-20. We envisage an ever growing community of men, women, students, children and families who are passionately committed to a life of biblical obedience and prayer, a body of believers who desire to reach, and to be in relationship with others, to bring these people into a transforming relationship with Jesus.
To that end we have a recognition of the Church as we are now and a focus on the Church that God would want us to become. That will entail an understanding of what it means to belong to Maze Presbyterian Church, moving ever closer to Jesus Christ – from passive consumers to active and passionate disciples.
Towards that end, our primary focus will have 5 primary goals
- Expecting people (you) to take responsibility for discipleship
- Equipping people (you) to engage with the Bible
- Equipping people (you) to pray
- A renewed emphasis on evangelism
- Creating a comprehensive discipleship strategy
On reflecting upon that discipleship strategy we should further ask…
Why make Disciples?
We believe this is important because this has always been God’s eternal plan for the whole of human history, and it is in the salvation of sinners that Jesus is most glorified. This is the urgent task of the church now, Eph 2 v1-7.
What is a Disciple?
Put simply a disciple is a forgiven sinner who is learning Christ in repentance and faith. It is instructive to note that the usual understanding of a disciple as a “follower” of Jesus is very prevalent in the Gospels but, in the flow of scripture, as the church develops and matures, this understanding of a disciple transitions more to someone who is “learning” Christ, Col 1v5-7. This will entail hearing the gospel, responding to that Word in repentance with a resulting urgency to put on the new clothes of the Gospel while getting rid of the old. To be a “Christ-learner” is a decisive step in accepting the salvation won for us in Christ, so that we leave the spiritual world of darkness and are transferred to the Kingdom of light.
How are Disciples made?
Ultimately this is God’s work, achieved through his Word in the power of the Spirit through the activity of human disciples, Acts 19v20. We can summarise this activity as the “Persevering, Proclamation of God’s Word by God’s People in Prayerful dependence upon God’s Spirit.”
We might detail this belief by these steps (hereafter called the 4 P’s):
- Proclamation of God’s Word
- Prayerful dependence upon God’s Spirit
- People are God’s fellow workers
- Perseverance at every step
Our basic belief is that we will seek to move everyone connected to our church continually a little closer to Jesus. This is will involve understanding that each of us are at different spots – some will be far away and we need to Engage with such people. Others will have met Christians in some manner or situation and we will seek to Evangelise these folks. Anyone who has responded to the Gospel, in faith and repentance, as their next step they will need to be Established in the faith. Then as Christians are established, they will, in turn, need to be Equipped to help others know and share Jesus.
If we were to imagine this spectrum ranging from (left) far away from Jesus and religion to (right) totally committed to Jesus then the idea of moving closer to Jesus could be spoken of as encouraging people to take one step towards the right.
Summarising all of this in a picture form might look something like this…
Who makes Disciples?
It is the joy and privilege of all of God’s people to be involved in making disciples. This is God’s expectation of the New Testament church as prophesied in Joel 2 v28-30 and given a practical demonstration of in Acts 4v31… “and they were filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the Word of God with boldness.” In practice, this will mean continuing to have as a central tenet of our gatherings that we have a strong emphasis upon the exposition of scripture from the pulpit. But, in daily life and occupations, every believer will have the opportunity to speak God’s Word into other people’s lives at multiple levels and in a rich variety of ways.
Where are Disciples made?
This ought to be the very basic activity that defines the church – it should be the centre of everything we do. As Maze Presbyterian Church gathers on a Sunday, or on any other occasion, it should do so as a transformational learning community. All the activities of the church should coincide with this belief; there may be more or less spoken words depending on the context and the moment of our weekly encounters through organisations, but there ought to be an intentional desire to move people closer to Jesus.
This will have a practical application in all our church organisations and ministries having, and indeed being characterised by, an outward focus as part of their DNA. There is a recognition that this intentionality slips and we must guard against that. God has uniquely blessed his saints with a particular set of gifts, and these same gifts and enthusiasms will be used by God to reach specific individuals. Everywhere the believer is placed falls within this understanding- home, work, leisure or interests – we have the privilege of continually pointing to Jesus.
Maze Presbyterian Church needs to be clear in its strategy of enabling disciples to make disciples. Finally, this is not solely our work, it is God’s work carried out in dependence upon his Spirit centred for us in our church, in our homes and ultimately, in our world. This can still be summed up as in the words of our church motto:
Knowing, Serving and sharing Jesus.