This course is about discipleship, but it is discipleship intentionally viewed from the perspective of glorifying God through His Son by the power of His Spirit. Thus, it is kingdom discipleship. It is firstly and ultimately about Him, not us. Discipleship is not a self-help word. It is a relational word; it speaks about growing intimacy with God and informed obedience in all our relationships. He has saved us and called us into fellowship with his Son. It is He who enables us to remain in Him and it is He who calls us to a life of vibrant, scripturally oriented, Spirit sponsored obedience. It is He who will bring us safely, though not without struggles, into our eternal inheritance. All the glory and praise goes to our Trinitarian God! If we get that straight, we're off to a flyin' start.
Now the only worthy response to God—who has dealt with us so mercifully and patiently—is to worship wholeheartedly. But Paul said that worship involved more than just singing and praising God, though these excellent habits are essential to the overall experience of genuinely knowing God. Rather, worship involves our whole lives lived truthfully and sacrificially in light of our Father's mercy. Worship involves pleasing God with our whole heart (of which our head is included) and hands, and remaining free of the pollution found in the pattern of this sinful world (cf. Romans 12:1-2). It involves living in God's family with humility, love, and service, as well as relating properly to all men (e.g., Roman 13:1-7).
In summary, then, the point of this course is to receive God's kingdom and power, and to live it out in scripturally informed and meaningful ways. This is discipleship. Now in the first part of this course, we will deepen our reflection on the theology of discipleship as "part and parcel" of creating a profile of a disciple. An informed disciple of Christ deeply believes many important doctrines from Scripture and constantly relates Biblical teaching to his/her ministry. A disciple of Christ also possesses and is growing in certain Christ-like virtues. And finally, he/she as a disciple and disciplemaker (i.e., an example to others) is seeking Christ's strength and glory in the development of certain habits of holiness.
The practice of discipleship takes up the latter half of the course. Here we will learn some skills for helping others grow in the faith and become reproducing disciples. In short, our goal is that there will be multi-generational Christians and that each person will be a spiritual parent, grandparent, great grandparent, etc. Paul commanded Timothy to entrust the teachings to faithful men who will be qualified to teach others also (2 Tim 2:2). This is what it means to labor to the glory of God (Col 1:28-29).
There are several objectives to the course. These include intellectual, affective, and volitional goals.
1. The student will understand the meaning of the term disciple.
2. The student will understand and appreciate the importance of the theology of discipleship and how the Great Commission fits into God’s overall plan and how it relates to the two Great Commandments. Out of this the student will see the importance of discipleship and gain confidence in the Lord that He wants to use him/her in this way.
3. The student will understand and personally desire to exhibit the virtues of Christlikeness. In keeping with this goal, he/she will understand the nature of the spiritual life and its relationship to the development of Christ-like virtues. He/she will see this as foundational to any fruitful ministry of discipling others for the Lord.
4. The student will learn some basic skills in helping a new believer as well as a believer who is older but has not matured a great deal. Grace and truth will characterize all of his/her ministry.
5. The student will desire to be involved with others who are committed to making disciples and seek to make a unifying and positive contribution in that context.
6. The student will give some thought to the potential and actual problems involved in discipling others and seek scripturally oriented, contextually relevant solutions.
There are three assignments for this course.
1. Before the course begins the student is to lay out a basic plan for how they might help a new believer grow in Christ. This does not have to be comprehensive, but it must be something you would actually try and do with a person and something which you can build on. So it must be done thoughtfully. You may create any scenario you like, but make it practical and concrete.
2. At the end of the course, the student will reevaluate their discipleship plan and revise it as necessary. Each student will prepare a plan that can be used by someone else. They will use it themselves and have copies available for others to use.
3. The student will write out their testimony in two pages (3 minutes spoken) with a before, during, and after, and a clear presentation of the gospel message shall be included in the “during” section.