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By James D. Sanderson
Special to The Pagosa Springs SUN Online
As God’s movement toward unifying His Church continues to grow, we are experiencing an ever-greater need for committed Christian disciples. In fact, there is really no way to accomplish this calling without dedicated, mature disciples who are willing to lay down their lives for Jesus Christ.
To meet this need, we have developed a way of teaching practical ministry skills that will help every believer discover their true potential as a disciple of Christ and to fulfill the command from Matthew 28:19 to “Go … make disciples.”
The real obstacles to becoming a fully devoted follower of Christ are not money, time, methods or knowledge. The major obstacle is the human heart. When that changes, all else changes. Jesus frequently reminded His disciples that the barrier was not lack of knowledge, but one of heart-direction.
The Pharisees had much religious knowledge, but they lacked the believing heart to apply it in ways that transformed themselves and others. A disciple is a person of Christian character developed by learning from the Teacher. Just as Paul instructed his young disciple Timothy, if you develop appropriate character, the rest will follow …
The One Church in Pagosa Springs is a missional church. By that we mean we are committed to living out the way of Jesus Christ in our homes, in our neighborhoods and in our community. We are committed to reaching our neighbors with the love of Jesus Christ. To that end, our discipleship course is teaching fellow believers eight ways to become life transformers:
1) Discipleship basics. The famous football coach Vince Lombardi always started the training season by holding up a football and saying, “This is a football …” That’s just how important the basics are. Discipleship basics teaches how to share your personal testimony with others and how to persevere in daily disciplines.
2) Celebration. We celebrate our relationship with God through daily worship, sacred living, showing hospitality to others, sharing communion and attending worship services.
3) Bible study. This section teaches the basic methods of learning; inductive Bible study; and encourages us to actually study the Word of God — the Bible.
4) Stewardship. Here we are encouraged to think deeply about giving — not only our money, but our time and best efforts as well. What lifestyle corrections might we make to live more fully in God’s will? How do we serve others? What is our mission and how do we live out that mission in our daily lives?
5) Grace. Here we learn about grace and forgiveness and how we might live that out in the world as peacemakers and people of nonviolence.
6) Prayer and fasting. These basic disciplines are so important to our faith that we really can’t live as Christians without them.
7) Missional. In this section of our discipleship course, we learn creative ways to reach our neighbors as we continue to seek ways to love others.
8) Community. What did the Acts church look like and how is that different from what we see around us today? What does it mean to be one body of Christ? What does it look like to live as a community in the Church? These are the teachings in this section of our study.
As you can see, our discipleship course is quite extensive and it is teaching other Christian believers how to actually live their faith in their daily lives. If you would like to have a copy of this discipleship study absolutely free of charge, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Warning: While I have said this course is free of charge, I must warn you with the words of Dietrich Bonhoeffer: “Salvation is free, but discipleship will cost you your life.”