Disciplemaking - Lesson 8

Group Discussion 1 - What does it mean to be a disciple?

In this discussion, Joe Handley and a group of students share their thoughts on what it means to be a disciple based on John 14 and 15. One student believes that discipleship is essential in maintaining a strong relationship with Christ, while another sees it as a relationship that needs to be cultivated and grown every day. Another student admits to being unsure about what discipleship means, but suggests that it includes both an external and internal aspect. They also talk about the importance of abiding, inviting, and connecting with God throughout the day, and how pruning is an integral part of the growth process.
Taught by a Team
Taught by a Team
Lesson 8
Watching Now
Group Discussion 1 - What does it mean to be a disciple?

I. Understanding Discipleship

A. Importance of Discipleship

B. Growing in Relationship with God

C. Internal and External Aspects of Discipleship

II. Practicing Discipleship

A. Abiding in God's Presence

B. Listening for Guidance from the Holy Spirit

C. Embracing the Pruning Process

III. Reflection and Application

A. Understanding One's Relationship with God

B. Applying Discipleship to Daily Life

C. Encouraging Others in Their Discipleship Journey

  • Mary Jo Wilson and Joe Handley introduce themselves and express their excitement about the upcoming discipleship course, which aims to enhance participants' relationship with God and their work in the world, and encourage them to bring transformative change to their church and ministry.
  • Joe Handley outlines the elements that they will be covered in the Disciplemaking course: what is a disciple, the great commandment, becoming a disciple, being a disciple, fruitfulness, and multiplying disciples.
  • The lesson discusses the approach to discipleship, which is focused on the four gospels and building obedient disciples through the seven obedience; it emphasizes a holistic approach to following Jesus and the informed imagination, and the course will focus on the gospels of John, Matthew, Luke, and Mark.
  • Mary Jo Wilson emphasizes the importance of understanding the role of suffering and persecution in discipleship, as it is a recurring theme in the Gospels and is also a part of the early church experience, and discusses how enduring such hardships can be a formative experience for Christians.
  • The lesson discusses the importance of abiding in Christ as the key to joy in life, bearing fruit in one's life, and becoming a disciple of Jesus through a deep and communal relationship with Him.
  • Discipleship is not a program but a relationship. Abiding in Christ is the key to joy in life and bearing much fruit and is achieved through having a deep communal walk with Jesus and allowing Him to prune us to make us stronger.
  • Mary Jo Wilson discusses the importance of a posture of repentance and dependence on the Holy Spirit in the discipleship process, and highlights the work of the Holy Spirit in convicting of sin, guiding in decision making, and forming believers into Christ.
  • The instructors and students discuss their thoughts and experiences on what it means to be a disciple, including the importance of maintaining a growing relationship with God, the internal aspects of discipleship, abiding in God, the role of inviting God into everyday life, and the significance of pruning.
  • This session discusses the importance of becoming a disciple of Jesus and our identity in Christ, illustrated through the example of churches in Japan becoming centers for relief goods after the 2011 disasters and being seen as representatives of Christ by the community.
  • By taking this lesson, you will gain knowledge and insight into the relationship between the Sermon on the Mount and the Kingdom of God, including the importance of Jesus' teachings in the Sermon on the Mount and how they relate to the mission of the church and the call to discipleship.
  • The lesson discusses the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5-7, where Jesus describes the Kingdom of God and how his followers are to live as salt and light in the world, raising the bar on the interpretation of the Old Testament law and calling for inner righteousness, forgiveness, and love for enemies.
  • This lesson reviews the importance of becoming like Jesus and displaying his characteristics, such as humility and generosity, to become authentic Christ-centered people in our communities, and emphasizes the need for communal support to grow in our faith.
  • In this group discussion about discipleship and the Sermon on the Mount, the students and instructors reflect on the Beatitudes and how they challenge and contrast with the values of the world, and discuss how Jesus lifted up marginalized people and called all his followers to be salt and light in the world.
  • In this lesson Mary Jo Wilson and Joe Handley discuss transitioning from becoming a disciple to being a disciple who makes disciples, with a focus on the overflow of abiding in Christ into the lives of others.
  • Mary Jo Wilson discusses the importance of spiritual conversations and how to approach them in our daily lives through the example of Jesus' encounter with the Samaritan woman at the well in John chapter 4.
  • Joe Handley discusses the idea of being a disciple of Jesus and how to share one's story and witness through different tools, including prayer, social media, and engaging with others through layering of interactions.
  • The class discusses the story of Jesus and the Samaritan woman, highlighting how Jesus approached the woman with humility and respect, treating her like a real person and engaging in a conversation with her, despite social and cultural barriers. They also discuss how Jesus challenged his disciples to adopt a Kingdom way that breaks down barriers and recognizes the value and dignity of all people.
  • This session focuses on the importance of reproducibility and sustainability in disciple-making, drawing on examples from the book of Acts and personal anecdotes.
  • Joe Handley discusses the importance of a reproducible culture of discipleship in the Kingdom of God, drawing on the idea of the mustard seed and how small actions can have a big impact, and provides examples of how this can be implemented in different contexts such as micro churches.
  • This lesson provides information on small groups in discipleship, including their definition, anatomy, purpose, characteristics, steps for starting one, the role of the leader, the discipleship process in small groups, and their importance in discipleship in general.
  • Instructors Joe Handley and Mary Jo Wilson discuss with students their visions of the Kingdom of God, with one sharing their goal of sharing their story to help others understand the word of God, while another likens the planting of seeds to the growth of faith, stressing the importance of patience and trust in the process of nurturing them.
  • Joe Handley and Mary Jo Wilson discuss the importance of creating a practical plan for discipleship and ministry, encouraging listeners to reflect on what they've learned, and write a strategic personal plan for following through on their learning.
  • This lesson teaches how to pull together the different sections of a discipleship plan using the model of vision, intent and means, and suggests including a vision, introduction, conclusion and rule of life, while encouraging reflection and sharing with others.
  • Joe Handley discusses the importance of creating a "rule of life" as part of a personal discipleship plan, which helps to balance and organize different areas of life, including spiritual, social, intellectual, and physical aspects.
  • Joe Handley and Mary Jo Wilson close their discipleship course by expressing gratitude for the opportunity to learn and grow together, and offer a prayer of blessing for their students to continue on their lifelong journey as faithful followers of Jesus.

In this class, you will explore the foundations, methods, and models of disciplemaking, drawing from biblical principles, historical perspectives, and theological insights. You will examine the disciplemaking approaches of Jesus and Paul, as well as modern examples and strategies. Additionally, you will learn how to develop a personal disciplemaking plan through the assessment of spiritual gifts and identification of ministry opportunities. Finally, you will delve into disciplemaking in the local church and beyond, including church-based strategies, cross-cultural disciplemaking, and equipping and multiplying disciplemakers.

Joe Handley and Mary Jo Wilson
Discussion 1: What Does it Mean to Be a Disciple?
Lesson Transcript

Joe Handley [00:00:01] So as you as you think through this passage and as you have heard, you know, heard and experienced the life of discipleship as you pondered, John, 14 and 15 the last few days, what is your thoughts on what it means to be a disciple? How do you see that in your life or as you watch others?

Student 1 [00:00:32] Well, I see discipleship as something. It's essential if you're not very serious about your relationship with Christ, your interest will pass to other things. Yeah. And what you wanted to have this what you thought you wanted to have is gone like this and just continues to push away. So it's essential to try to keep up on what you want. Keep your program going.

Student 2 [00:01:04] Discipleship is a relationship that we have with God and it needs to be growing each day.

Student 3 [00:01:19] I think I've always had a question about what it is. Yeah, I'm not really even sure that I know, because I think that following God can take many forms. So let's say that we're active in an area of ministry. Is that discipleship? I'm not really sure it's a part of it, but I think that what I'm learning is that there's an internal aspect to it. And also and it's true. And so maybe learning more about what those things are would be helpful.

Mary Jo Wilson [00:01:55] In how they fit together, You know.

Student 3 [00:01:57] How they fit together. Yeah. And maybe is there an overarching understanding that ties the two together? Right. Internal and external.

Mary Jo Wilson [00:02:07] Right. Not in addition, A plus B, but the whole.

Student 3 [00:02:11] Yeah. Right.

Joe Handley [00:02:13] Steve, what is what inspired you to see that in that framework of external and internal. What brought you to that place?

Student 3 [00:02:22] I think maybe because personally, I, I sort of see myself being encouraged to participate in, in certain areas of what I think are the areas of the God's calling me to. Mm hmm. And that maybe that certain gifts and skills are being exercised in that. Mm hmm. But I know that, like the vine and the branches, it's easy sometimes for me to feel like I'm getting dry. Yeah. And so that's the internal. And what And then what do you do, you know, at that? So I think that those are some of the questions, you know.

Student 4 [00:03:07] And I think definitely, you know, the word abide is used, you know, several times, which means you want to pay attention to those words when you're doing a Bible study, right? Yeah. And so I think, you know, that is the start of it is when you are abiding and, you know, like for me, I guess in this moment of thinking about abide, it's like I want to be with God. In God like him guided me, the Holy Spirit, and just being in that place, starting from there. And then like you were talking about the growth and we don't know how to what the next step is, but I guess that's like the value of having the Holy Spirit with us is that we're just listening and hoping that. Can you show me the next step? Because I don't know what it is right now. And then, you know, I think that's our relationship. And another point that came to my mind was we talk about growth and then, you know, pruning. No one likes the pruning process, right? When we think of growth, we think of like that beautiful rose that blossoms, right? And then we forget that, oh, part of our growth is also then to be pruned, which means something's getting cut off. And that is part of the Christian experience. But sometimes we forget that because we just want to focus on the blooming. Yeah, that, that when everything looks so beautiful and perfect, but yet we do have that process that we have to go through of. Oh, that hurts a lot. But oh man, now I get to grow even more. Yeah. I don't know. I think that's just what I think about in discipleship.

Mary Jo Wilson [00:04:37] I guess I can ask you the word inviting as thinking. That's also a word that we use. I don't know if we ever use it other than right here, and it's just so critical to keep, you know, that's like the key thing. What, how do we describe it or, or understand that in our life, in our everyday life, right in common language or. You know what I mean? Right.

Student 4 [00:05:06] You know that I'll be honest, humble about this, but like the word abide, I honestly don't know what the exact dictionary is like. Even, like if I was I want to do a word study right now. I'm like, What are you talking about here? You know, in the original linguistic picture. And I think for me, what I'm reminded of when I think of the word divide is how even during when I used to work at a school, just talking to God throughout the day and like, if I'm coming across like a very difficult situation, just be like, God, I need your help right now. Just that to me is inviting. And even when there's like a happy moment, I'm having fun with my coworker, even just like, Oh God, thank you for that moment. Right. So it's just constantly just trying to connect with him throughout the day. I find like that's a biting and not just when we set apart and we definitely want to set apart the morning or evening whenever you do your studies and quiet times, but just throughout the day, just giving that moment over to God and connecting with and realizing that He is here with us even in this moment.

Student 1 [00:06:08] So it's less than just a routine of Bible study in the morning and prayers at night. It's staying with him all day. And enjoying him.

Student 4 [00:06:19] Exactly. Yeah.

Mary Jo Wilson [00:06:20] I think we're back to Brother Lawrence, who is Jesus in the kitchen and. Yeah, bringing that into our every day. Yeah.

Student 5 [00:06:29] Yeah. And my version doesn't use the word abide. It uses a word remain. Mm. And so to me, that helps me grasp that a little better. Because if you're, if you're remaining somewhere, that means you're staying. You're staying there. Yeah.

Joe Handley [00:06:47] I love this idea of a relationship that you've pointed out. And interestingly, in in chapter 14, Jesus refers to his relationship with the boss. And then at the end of 15, and especially in the 16, he talks about the advocate. And so this this idea of the Trinity, a relationship is a really powerful metaphor of abiding and abiding. You know, the idea of being with one another in relationship with one another, father, son and the spirit. So as as we look at this passage, I'm curious what one of the one of the one of the frameworks we're using for this course is the idea of a vision of the intention and the means. As you look at these passages, what do you see as a vision of the Kingdom of God from this passage? What captured you?

Student 1 [00:08:01] Well, for me, I was when I first became a Christian. My sister and I knew Christ. Ten years old. Hmm. And I don't know why she chose John 14, but that was the passage we went through for, like, six months. Really? Yeah. And my younger sister also received praise at the same time. And my older sister, she. She had us memorizing John 14, and we would just keep going and go. I think we got to 21 or something like that. And I was 21 and that's been something that has been comforting to me all my life. Wow. And, you know, just why would she have chosen John 14? I don't know. But it's pivotal to really wanting to be a Christian and understanding that the father, the Son and the Holy Spirit already have a unit, a family. And he is asking you to join him and stay with him. That's a fantastic concept that the living God would want me to be in his family, part of his fight. And I love gardening. And I've been trained to show plants correctly. I don't get out there with the weed whacker. I actually travel and it takes me a while to get a camellia plant. Looking good. The right shape, the right, you know, spacing and stuff like that. But when it's done, I go, That's great. You know, it's very it's very rewarding. Yeah. And I'm sure that's I still get that picture of God, but he's going well and you're looking great in everything. You prune the way I want you, right? But, you know, but then I grow out of whack, you know, by the printing back, you know?

Student 5 [00:09:45] That's such a beautiful picture. Thanks for sharing that. And I know I am enjoying gardening, but I don't really know what I'm doing now, so, you.

Mary Jo Wilson [00:09:58] Know, I try it, but I’m always sad to prune away, especially when there's a little nugget of fruit. But you have to cut those away for the fruit to go back. You know, it's like. But if I leave it, it'll do something, you know? It feels wasteful to be that way. But I know I believe that that's the healthier than the plant is so much healthier and better fruits.

Joe Handley [00:10:22] What a great picture of the vision of the kingdom, though. Very powerful. Thank you.

Student 2 [00:10:28] If you're limiting yourself within the family of the believers within the church, everything looks nice. And yeah, it's safe to eat. But once you step out and once you feel like you're ready to be used, that's when you face real challenges and me being needed. And if I'm limiting myself just to an American church, it's it doesn't serve the purpose that God placed me that you do. But if I go out of my city and face the world there, I can be used to be called to share. Or the purpose of being a disciple of Christ means that's been definitely been these challenges and that's been we might be hooked and we are exposing our starts to the vulnerable and finding, you know, God can use you. You know, my TV, of course, comes along with all the persecution and everything, but that's when you really know that God is using and you are available to him and for his kingdom.

Student 3 [00:11:43] I think John, 15, has always been one of my favorite passages, partially because you know, what I get chills about all the time is just reading, you know, verse 11 that he has told this so that his joy may be in us and our joy may be complete. Yeah. So, you know, it's it is the highlight of the passage for me that it's about maybe seeking that joy. I mean, there are commandments, but the but the outcome is that really kind of rich, meaningful existence. Where we get to experience it. Yeah, that's I think that's what inspires me.

Joe Handley [00:12:33] That's rich. Yeah. Any others?

Student 2 [00:12:38] For me, verse 17, “Love each other.” It's as simple as that. Just how the father dances. We just need to love each other and be unconditional.

Joe Handley [00:12:53] Very good.

Student 4 [00:12:57] I think that's what's so interesting that like I'm definitely on you about the with you on the love one another part. But for me I guess the verse that's highlighted is verse 13. No one has greater love than this. To lay down one's life for one's friends. And when you I don't know, I think sometimes I get caught up in like when I'm reading a passage, like I'm looking at as if God speaking to me, which, you know, he can speak to me through these verses. But at the same time, like, you have to also see like the context, right? So clearly Jesus is talking to his disciples, which means when he's saying you are the branches, he's talking to a lot of people around him, so we're all branches. And so therefore there is that idea of like, okay, this isn't just an individual thing that he's talking about, it's about community, right? And so when I read like no one has greater love needs to lay down one's life for one's friends, it's like, well, that is the community that we're envisioning, that we're imagining is that we're wanting to love each other the best that we can, which means we might sacrifice maybe our own comfort to help out a friend or, like, cook a meal so I can take it to them. You know, they just had a baby or something like, you're taking your time, you're sacrificing something. But then I think the tension that I'm always trying to figure out is I want to be that person who is loving the best that I can because that's my God just for me. And then I want to bear that fruit of loving one another. But then I'm also trying to figure out how do you do that in the context of because we talk a lot about boundaries right now. Exactly. And so, you know, and I love the way the dynamic that I grew up in was being half Korean, and half Americans have Caucasian. So growing up in Korea, there was definitely there's a huge family oriented ness, right? You're very group oriented America from that perspective, that looks more individualistic. But I still had a father who still stressed family. So it's just very nice to have that. But at the same time, he still wanted to instill in me like, Hey, you as an individual person, you have dreams and you have goals. Go, go for that. You know, it's not just about what parents want. And so being able to have that, I can kind of see like, okay, maybe we can find a balance. But then sometimes I can't seem to find it because it's like, clearly someone is in need. I definitely don't have the time, I don't have the energy, but I just feel like this person has a need. So is it okay for me to break my boundaries or not? Even though I know this is going to make me even more tired? I have a meeting tomorrow morning. I won't have anything prepared because I just took this, you know? So. Where do you find that like line? Right? Is there really supposed to be a line? Because she didn't hear. He's talking about laying down your life, right? So is Jesus actually telling us that? Yeah, there are like, you're going to break those boundaries. Is it are we supposed to always break them? Are we supposed to keep those boundaries? I don't know. Like, that's always been like this tension that I've dealt with because in a group oriented culture, right. You will do everything in anything for your family member, right? But in America, I feel like, oh, I offered help, but they didn't really want it. And so it's like, Oh, but I want to. And then I don't know. It's just been a very interesting experience of trying to figure out what is community in this context in the Christian community. Yeah, So I don't know.

Joe Handley [00:16:30] Yeah, that's a very good reflection. What I love about this passage in the Bible is it really allows that freedom of the spirit to work. And what we see here is, is really it's, it's a fluid way to learn to grow in Christ and to become like him. And I think that's a beautiful picture that God provides for us. And I love that relational aspect of the Trinity father, son, spirit and the connectivity there, you know, But each of our stories is different, and that's a powerful image of what it means to become a disciple.