How Will You Define and Develop Mature Disciples?

kenthall5@gmail.com
Posts: 51
Joined: Tue Oct 23, 2018 7:30 pm

Re: Rockbridge Student

Postby kenthall5@gmail.com » Sat Nov 17, 2018 9:30 pm

cas.sufficool@gmail.com wrote:
> This question, “How will you define and develop mature disciples” is a
> complex and intense question. It is a question I have wrestled with for
> years, “How can we measure another believer’s growth?” Yet, when Steve
> talked about how Saddleback uses the five elements from the Great
> Commission, those measurements seems to be spot on. Now I understand that
> they are not a fool proof method to tell if someone is genuinely believing
> and growing and if they are simply playing the part, but I do think they
> are five good elements to form a basis from.
>
> Another element that I might add into the assessment of a mature believe
> is their selfless love. Selfishness is becoming more and more a prominent
> part of our culture, apps like Snap Chat, Instagram, and a myriad of others
> are all about self. “Look at me, look what I am doing today, look who I am
> with, look at the new shoes I got, look at blah blah blah.” We have become
> a culture consumed with ourselves, our needs and our desires.
>
> Yet, Jesus addressed this and countered with a simple command, “If anyone
> wants to follow me, they must die to themselves, take up their cross daily
> and follow me” Luke 9:23. Selfless love is an expression of our mature in
> the purest of sense. Do I want to come over and pray with you because you
> are struggling or sick and its ten o’clock at night? No, I don’t, I want to
> be snuggled in bed next to my wife and not drive 20 minutes to your house
> in -10-degree weather, but… I will die to myself and love you because that
> is what God has called me to do. Thus, I get out of bed, go to that
> person’s house, spend an hour with my brother praying and talking with them
> and then I come home.
>
> The ability to put ourselves behind ourselves and follow Jesus where ever
> He leads us by selflessly loving on others is an essential key to mature
> growth in my opinion. Now there are limits and you do not want to get burnt
> out in ministry, but I don’t think this type of selfless love is just for
> those in full time ministry and I think the excuse of getting burnt out it
> exactly that, and excuse. What you do think about selfless love being
> another element of a mature believer?
Chad,
You present an interesting question when you ask, “How can we measure another believer’s growth?” Indeed, how can we see into another’s heart? Those five elements are excellent evidences of growth (or lack of it) but the measuring is the issue. It seems to be a relative qualitative method without a specific gauge.

Nevertheless, it has merit. We all know that when a person grows in their walk with the Lord, you can see the difference. Their fruits are evident if we are really watching. Their lives become less self-centered and more ministry-centered. Selfless love is definitely an element of a mature believer.

Dying to self is not an easy goal. The world and its ways surround us. Even the Apostle Paul fought the same battle. “I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members.” (Rom 7:23 NAS) The answer we seek is found in Galatians 5:16, “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.” It is a battle which can only be won in the Spirit.

kenthall5@gmail.com
Posts: 51
Joined: Tue Oct 23, 2018 7:30 pm

Re: Rockbridge Student

Postby kenthall5@gmail.com » Sat Nov 17, 2018 9:35 pm

cas.sufficool@gmail.com wrote:
> This question, “How will you define and develop mature disciples” is a
> complex and intense question. It is a question I have wrestled with for
> years, “How can we measure another believer’s growth?” Yet, when Steve
> talked about how Saddleback uses the five elements from the Great
> Commission, those measurements seems to be spot on. Now I understand that
> they are not a fool proof method to tell if someone is genuinely believing
> and growing and if they are simply playing the part, but I do think they
> are five good elements to form a basis from.
>
> Another element that I might add into the assessment of a mature believe
> is their selfless love. Selfishness is becoming more and more a prominent
> part of our culture, apps like Snap Chat, Instagram, and a myriad of others
> are all about self. “Look at me, look what I am doing today, look who I am
> with, look at the new shoes I got, look at blah blah blah.” We have become
> a culture consumed with ourselves, our needs and our desires.
>
> Yet, Jesus addressed this and countered with a simple command, “If anyone
> wants to follow me, they must die to themselves, take up their cross daily
> and follow me” Luke 9:23. Selfless love is an expression of our mature in
> the purest of sense. Do I want to come over and pray with you because you
> are struggling or sick and its ten o’clock at night? No, I don’t, I want to
> be snuggled in bed next to my wife and not drive 20 minutes to your house
> in -10-degree weather, but… I will die to myself and love you because that
> is what God has called me to do. Thus, I get out of bed, go to that
> person’s house, spend an hour with my brother praying and talking with them
> and then I come home.
>
> The ability to put ourselves behind ourselves and follow Jesus where ever
> He leads us by selflessly loving on others is an essential key to mature
> growth in my opinion. Now there are limits and you do not want to get burnt
> out in ministry, but I don’t think this type of selfless love is just for
> those in full time ministry and I think the excuse of getting burnt out it
> exactly that, and excuse. What you do think about selfless love being
> another element of a mature believer?
Chad,
You present an interesting question when you ask, “How can we measure another believer’s growth?” Indeed, how can we see into another’s heart? Those five elements are excellent evidences of growth (or lack of it) but the measuring is the issue. It seems to be a relative qualitative method without a specific gauge.

Nevertheless, it has merit. We all know that when a person grows in their walk with the Lord, you can see the difference. Their fruits are evident if we are really watching. Their lives become less self-centered and more ministry-centered. Selfless love is definitely an element of a mature believer.

Dying to self is not an easy goal. The world and its ways surround us. Even the Apostle Paul fought the same battle. “I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members.” (Rom 7:23 NAS) The answer we seek is found in Galatians 5:16, “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.” It is a battle which can only be won in the Spirit.

reidsmith777@gmail.com
Posts: 24
Joined: Sat Aug 04, 2018 3:29 pm

Re: How Will You Define and Develop Mature Disciples?

Postby reidsmith777@gmail.com » Sun Nov 18, 2018 4:02 pm

Great conversation on defining and developing mature disciples! I've found that stories of people experiencing life change and impacting others through groups living out the "five verbs" together are the most compelling for others to become more intentional growing spiritually in Christ with others. It sounds like the importance of "beginning with the end in mind" rung true with you all. Since it is challenging to capture this in a word or picture, I'm curious how you all do it at your churches. If you have a definition of a mature disciple, what is it? What do you think it should be?

reidsmith777@gmail.com
Posts: 24
Joined: Sat Aug 04, 2018 3:29 pm

Re: How Will You Define and Develop Mature Disciples?

Postby reidsmith777@gmail.com » Thu Dec 06, 2018 6:44 pm

My mind goes to Colossians 2:6-7 and Philippians 2:3-11 when I think of what a growing relationship with Jesus looks like and this expresses itself through selfless love (cf. Carl's note above). Another word that comes to mind when I think about defining maturity is "dependency" - that is, mature disciples are dependent on Jesus. They know they need to remain in Christ and Christ in them in order to be full of life and life-giving (fruitful) for others; apart from Him they can't do anything (John 15:5). This dependency compels mature disciples to the foot of the cross daily to foster a deeper relationship that overflows in obedience to the Great Commandment and Great Commission. Disciples are disciples because they're following Jesus and learning from him in community with others. In fact, there are 266 references of ‘disciples’ and 28 of ‘disciple’. Almost every reference of the word being in the singular notes how another disciple was with him or it is Jesus making a point in an illustration He is sharing. There is only one instance when there is talk of a disciple being alone and that’s Peter when he was in the process of denying Christ. What can this teach us about the importance of community for Christ-followers? For this reason, I like how the circular diagram of the five purposes applies to the individual and group alike.

dthomas@highlandsfellowship.com
Posts: 1
Joined: Tue Oct 23, 2018 12:56 pm

Re: Rockbridge Student

Postby dthomas@highlandsfellowship.com » Fri Jan 18, 2019 11:02 pm

kenthall5@gmail.com wrote:
> Steve gives us a question here which is really two closely related
> questions. The first is to define exactly what it means to be a mature
> disciple (as much as humanly possible). The second question naturally
> follows. How do we go about heading toward that goal?
>
> I find it interesting that most discipleship programs and materials focus
> mainly if not totally on the second of these questions. It’s almost like
> shooting and hoping a target will appear. I’ve always heard that saying,
> “If you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it every time.” As with any life
> question, we must search the Scripture to find the right answer.
>
> I believe the five verbs that Saddleback bases their church on allow us to
> define the target because they are directly from multiple places in
> Scripture and come from Jesus Himself. The Spiritual Health Assessment from
> earlier in this course allows us to know where we are on that target and
> how we need to refocus to get closer to the center. The real question is,
> “Why don’t we make those changes?” This is a question I keep asking myself
> about the members and regular attenders of my church. How can I get them to
> understand the importance of it? What kind of motivation can I give them?

The Spiritual Health Assessment is a resource that we have found really good value in at the church I serve. When I first tried to use the SHA, I took the assessment myself and then asked group leaders to take it. That was the extent of it. Needless to say, I didn't get much traction. Then the second time around, we spent time with our staff and walking them through it. When we came together as a group for staff meetings, we then discussed the results together and decided on one of the 5 purposes to dig deeper in together. We didn't just look to understand them better, we sought to put action to it.
Then, we took a few key people who are influencers at the church and walked them through it. They then began talking about it with others.
The next thing we did was present it to all our small group leaders. By this point, the we had some traction with it, and people really appreciated it. People felt it gave them a target to aim at for discipleship, while also some practical action steps.

If I could make a recommendation, maybe a good question might be... "how can our church get momentum with this?".


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