This is Suncrest…Our Discipleship Approach

This concludes a series of 4 posts about what defines Suncrest.  Any healthy church or business knows what they are about…and what they aren’t about.  These 4 lists are the absolute non-negotiables for us.  It has sparked a few good questions which I may tackle in later posts.  Here are the links to the previous 3 posts in case you missed them:

This is Suncrest…Our Culture

This is Suncrest…Our Mission

This is Suncrest…Our Theology

A quick word before I share our Approach to Discipleship.  About 5 years ago, our leaders were asking, “How do we know if people at our church are really growing spiritually?”  We struggled for a unified answer, but it wasn’t because the Bible was unclear. It was because we all had different backgrounds and preferences that shaped us.  The biggest problem was that we used the same language “We want spiritual growth (or discipleship).”  But we all had different things we assumed that language meant.  Some thought it meant more Bible knowledge.  Some thought it meant deep prayer life.  Some thought it meant a growing concern for the poor.  Some thought it meant being an all-star evangelist.  Some didn’t even know what being an evangelist meant!

Worse, it became obvious that if the leaders didn’t have clarity on this, we had no hope of actually shaping the spiritual life of our church in a significant way.  So, we went back and studied the scriptures.  We especially studied the life of Jesus, the practices he embraced, and the ways he asked us to follow him.

We landed on 4 central practices that are essential to the growth of any Christ-follower.  These could break down into subsets with much longer lists, but this is the core.  We tried to capture them with single memorable words, short explanatory phrases and then share a few scriptures (there are many we could add) that embody them.

Our Discipleship Approach:  Areas in which we strive for Christ-followers to grow

CULTIVATE a personal relationship with Jesus.

I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.                        -Jesus in John 15:5

 I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.                                                  -Philippians 3:10


CONNECT in Relationships where truth meets life.

Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into Christ…           -Ephesians 4:15

They devoted themselves to…the fellowship…                -Acts 2:42


CONTRIBUTE by serving.

Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.  -Matthew 20:28

 Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it.       -Mark 8:34-35


CARE about people far from God.

For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.”     -Luke 19:10

…”Why does he eat with tax collectors and ‘sinners’?” On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”            -Mark 2:16-17


Two quick things:

1.  We are careful to align any programs with these practices.  It takes focus and discipline, but ALL of our programming is designed to help people with one or more of these.  We evaluate our discipleship effectiveness on the basis of these practices.

2.  All are important…there is no priority.  Some will come more naturally to you than others, but maturity comes from growing in all of them.  That means the guy who knows the Bible cover to cover, but doesn’t give a rip about people far from God is immature. The opposite is also true.

~ by Greg Lee on November 23, 2011.

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