Ignite Passion in Your Church through Discipleship Images
- Friday, July 01, 2005
The square lays out the stages every disciple experiences and gives you the corresponding styles of leadership. In the discipleship process, you should be both leading and following - leading when you are mentoring someone, and following when someone else is mentoring you. Like a square, the process is constantly moving up, down, and sideways. You can delegate responsibility to a new disciple in four stages that correspond to the four sides of a square: Stage one is "I do, you watch," stage two is "I do, you help," stage three is "You do, I help," and stage four is "You do, I watch."
The pentagon is a tool for enabling every believer to recognize his or her worth and how to contribute to building up the body of Christ. Just as a pentagon has five sides, God has given each person the grace necessary to fulfill a ministry role as an apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor, or teacher. As you identify who is gifted in certain ways and how they can use those gifts in ministry through your church, you can help all your church's members learn to work effectively and productively together in ministry. Apostles are visionary and pioneering people who like to come up with new, innovative means to do kingdom work. Prophets hear from God and help people understand how He wants them to live. They often can come up with a vision for progress and creative solutions that others can't. Evangelists bring God's good news to non-Christians and know how to make His Word relevant to them. Pastors (those who have the pastoral gift, including laypeople) care for other people with compassion. They comfort and encourage people patiently and seek to meet their needs. Teachers look for ways to explain, enlighten, and apply truth. They enjoy reading and studying the Bible and helping others understand it.
Learning to pray according to the model Jesus gave us in the Lord's Prayer will renew your church's prayer life. Use this six-sided prayer (just like the six sides of a hexagon) from Matthew 6:9-13 as a model for all your prayers: "Our Father in heaven, hallowed by your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one." Take whatever is burning in your heart at a given moment and pray it through according to the framework Jesus laid out in this example of effective prayer.
God's people are a living organism subject to the same principles of growth that apply to all living things. The seven-sided acrostic "MRS GREN" can help you grow a healthy church. Just like a seven-sided heptagon, there are seven characteristics that identify all living organisms: movement, respiration, sensitivity, growth, reproduction, excretion, and nutrition. Use biological life as a metaphor for what God wants your church to look like. Is your congregation on the move, reaching out to a dying world? Are you praying for the Holy Spirit to breathe energy into your church's people and empower them to live according to God's will? Are your church's members sensitive to the needs of others and willing to rejoice and mourn along with them in every situation? Are individuals in your church growing in their faith? Are your church's small groups growing? Is your church reproducing itself by creating a healthy next generation of believers? Are people in your congregation excreting their sins through repentance and discipline? Are they feeding their souls nutritiously by obeying God faithfully?
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