The other night I was sitting with my high school small group. As I looked around the circle and at the 14 pairs of eyes that stared back at me, I was reminded of the weight of discipleship.
We live in a culture that is more “me” centered than Gospel-driven. It makes sense. Even in giving to organizations that are helping feed, clothe, and free individuals around the world, we are more prone to generosity when we get something in return. Don’t get me wrong. I have the shoes, shirt, and water bottles that signify my small part in ending poverty in my home too.
Maybe some of you are like me. We grew up in the church, and if stereotypical church accolades merited a prize, we would have the trophy.
But all of these good deeds are of no value if they are not placed at the foot of the cross. All the good done, money given, books read – they fade into emptiness when we look at the goodness of Christ. Yet, how many of us have strived to check off what we feel will make us look better.
That is what hit me as I sat in my small group. For me, if left on my own, I would have thought I had it all together. However, it was the women who took me into their homes as a teenager and college student who taught me the Bible which showed me what it really looked like to believe and follow Jesus. Our goodness is as filthy rags compared to the greatness and glory of our Messiah.
As believers and followers of Jesus, we are not called to sit on the sidelines and grow on our own. No. In fact, each of us has been given the same calling – no matter your occupation, gender, relationship status, financial status, or age – to make the Gospel known in your spheres of influence (check out Colossians 1:9-11,28).
How do we carry this weight of discipleship into our daily lives? Here are three practical ways you can begin the process of discipleship:
Pray for opportunities to arise that will show you who God has placed in your spheres of influence to pour into. Discipleship isn’t a time to meet and talk about the “do’s and don'ts” of following Jesus. It is full of flowing conversations of what God is doing in and through both of you and how to daily live out the Gospel.
God is writing your story with its own set of challenges and blessings all to point back to His Gospel. Your giftings are not to be set on the sidelines. Are you a teacher? What if you helped facilitate conversation and growth in Christ through leading a community group? Do you love welcoming and helping others feel known? Maybe it’s time to join one of our Host teams at church?
These areas just barely scratch the surface of what you can do to begin serving. But what if, through obedience to the Gospel through serving and using your gifts, you utilized them as an opportunities to reach out to the guys or girls on your team who need encouragement and prayer thereby forming a relationship that can lead to discipleship?
Discipleship is messy, and it can be awkward, but let us never miss out on a good thing from God because of momentary disconcertion. Maybe it’s time to join a serving team or lead a group. Learn more about these steps by going to brentwoodchurch.org/serve.
3. Seek Accountability
The reality is we never stop growing. We will never arrive at a place in which we do not need to be poured into. Even as you begin to pour out what God has and is doing in you, seek out someone who can do the same for you.
If you’re not ready or able to lead a community group, join one! Surround yourself with followers of Jesus who are in the same stage of life as you or ones who are a few stages ahead. We need each other – single people need married couples, married couples need singles. The Lord is working in each of our lives, and from that growth we can spur one another on to a deeper knowledge of the Messiah! Learn more by going to brentwoodchurch.org/community.