A friend once told me that discipleship is “truth transferred through relationship.” We use that language a lot at Garden City Church. Also, we often say that a disciple is simply someone who follows Jesus and brings others to Jesus. If our churches could build such disciples, people who follow Jesus and bring others to Jesus, we’d have some exciting stories to tell. Discipleship is relational. Jesus spent an enormous amount of time relating to, transferring truth to, loving, and leading a small band of people. He’s the original disciple maker and what he did changed the world.
In terms of discipling new believers, what is of chief importance?
The gospel. I don’t think I need to add much more than that two-word answer. The most important, life-changing, and world-changing thing you can do is transfer the good news of Jesus to someone—to help center their life on the gospel and teach them to declare and demonstrate this gospel to others.
In your mind, is discipleship one aspect of church ministry or the totality of all a church does?
Jesus gave his church only one mission: make disciples. So, it’s the totality of what a church does. Our church plant isn’t even two years old yet and so we’re still figuring this out, but the way we do it is to simply ask this question about anything we are considering doing as a church, “Will it help us make disciples?” If some new idea or initiative will help us better make disciples in Silicon Valley, will help us stay focused on and advance the mission of our church, then we want to do it. If it’s distracting from that mission, we quickly say no and move on.