I always thought discipleship flowed out of a salvation. You learn about Jesus, experience grace, make a commitment to accept and serve Jesus, and then discipleship begins as we follow after Jesus.
Then I read the gospels.
Jesus called his disciples, and they followed, but it says nothing about them believing. Absolutely nothing. That doesn’t necessarily prove that they didn’t; however, later in the story, we learn about their journey of belief. It wasn’t until much later in their journey of discipleship, did they fully understand and believe.
Everyone from Peter to Judas, portrayed signs of confusion and disbelief of who Jesus actually was. It’s not until the very end, when they witness the risen Saviour, and empowerment of the Spirit, that they reach a powerful turning point. And the transformation is amazing — Peter goes from denying he even knew Jesus, to preaching in front of thousands.
So what can we learn from the disciple’s journey? Let me give you 5 ways discipleship begins before salvation:
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When I applied for the Children’s Pastor position in Glenwood, Newfoundland, I didn’t even know where Glenwood was. I just knew that there was a need in this community and I felt a call to fill that need.
Moving from Paradise (20,000 people) to Glenwood (800 people) was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. Not just for me but for my husband as well. I was fresh out of university, newly married, and had just started to get settled into my first apartment and new friendships. We are all called to something, but when God calls you to a place you’ve never been, a place with a population of 800 people, I can guarantee there is a struggle in your spirit.
During this time of struggle I couldn’t help but remember the part of 1 Samuel 15:22 that says “…obedience is better than sacrifice.” I was obeying a call that was completely out of my comfort zone and I was being thrown into the deep end.
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Since our ministry began, I’ve asked myself some serious questions. One of them — what constitutes a ‘church service’? What I’ve learned, is that we tend to allow our tradition, and not scripture, to answer that question. The Bible never describes a ‘church service’ as people reverently sitting in sanctuary pews, while singing hymns and listening to a well-dressed pastor. Can a ‘church service’ look like that? Sure! But it’s not what actually defines a ‘church service’.
The Underground Church
A number of years ago, I had the privilege of being a part of a short-term missions team. I’ll never forget experiencing an underground youth group. Yes, they sang songs. Yes, they heard from God’s Word. But other than that, the ‘service’ looked NOTHING like what the average North American would call a ‘church service.’
It was full of community, unity, friendship, authentic connection, love, and selflessness. Their goal wasn’t to serve themselves and welcome Jesus to ‘their service’, their goal was to celebrate Jesus through their community and serve Jesus.
What did I learn? A ‘church service’ is about communion together as we celebrate Jesus. Outside of the basics, the format doesn’t really matter. The only fundamentals we know of, include teaching the Word, breaking of bread, fellowship, and prayer (Acts 2:42).
So, what if we planned a service around one of the most significant aspects of our faith? What if Holy Communion was actually the focus of our service? What if we didn’t just ‘partake’ together, but actually ate together, like Jesus’ and his disciples did during the Last Supper? (Check out What Happens During Communion? for more.)
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Have you ever wondered what Communion is all about? We probably know the basics — as an act of remembrance, Jesus told his followers to break bread and drink wine. But is that it? Is there anything else happening during a Communion service?
Growing up I was taught about the symbolism and what Jesus did on the cross, but I missed out on how important and fundamentally central communion actually is.
Jesus modeled the Communion service
Communion is so important, it was one of the last things Jesus did with his disciples before his death. We take the words of Jesus and model our Communion service after them word-for-word:
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I’d like to say thank you to everyone who takes the time to read the blog posts I publish each week! The success of any blog is only achievable if people take the time to read, share and join in the conversation! So, thank you!
In the month of March, The Journey Holm hit a new milestone! We’ve come close a couple of times, but we have finally had over 2000 page views in a single month! That means during March, posts were viewed over 2000 times. That might seem low (at least compared to some blogs), but this is only year two of consistent blogging, for The Journey Holm, and with an average of 1000 monthly views last year, it’s such an honor to hit 2000 in one month!
I’d like give a special thanks to Kathy Stock for writing a guest post during March as well! Since we are all on a journey, her honest response to Faith and Doubt is a must read! See below for a link and preview!
Again, thank you for reading, sharing and engaging in conversation! The blog can’t grow without your help! If you haven’t already, you can subscribe to the weekly update and never miss a post, by clicking here: SUBSCRIBE!
If you missed either of the posts that were published this past March, here they are:
March 3 – “My New View On Alcohol”
March 10 – (GUEST POST) “Faith and Doubt”
March 17 – “The Problem with Tithing”
March 24 – “What’s The Biggest Threat to Christianity?”
March 31 – “Difficult Days…”