This is part of The False Promise of Discipleship blog series from The Bonhoeffer Project. Read the blog that came right before this one by clicking here.
1. God, how can You be this good, to adopt me when I’m still unsorted?
Practice the discipline of receiving the new identity that comes from adoption. This may not come naturally to you, and you might need to really practice it! But by practicing, we can start doing away with the belief that we have to earn something to be “in.”
2. How am I doing loving the people whom God has placed in my life?
What do you notice? What thoughts come up? Where is Jesus out ahead of you, having prepared good works in advance, that you should walk in them? (see Ephesians 2:8-9) Where and how, this week, is Jesus calling you to love your friends and neighbors in concrete, practical terms?
3. Jesus, what are you speaking to me through your Holy Spirit?
Learn to discern how you hear the leading of the Holy Spirit, as you read scripture and as you listen for his whisper in everyday life. Try to make your response as concrete as possible. If, for example, you sense a need for more rest and greater margin in your life, don’t just say, “I’m going to live slower” but rather, “I’m going to take three slow, prayerful walks around my neighborhood this week.” The more specific and concrete, the more helpful it is!
These questions can become a daily practice that help us grounded in our life as disciples, adopted in love, called as ambassadors, filled with the Holy Spirit as we listen and respond.
Towards the Future
Our goal is to move people out of The Human Paradigm, with its tantalizing but impossible promise of arrival, into abiding in Christ and learning to orient our lives around others. This is urgent work.
Bill Hull and Brandon Cook, authors of this blog and eBook, will be teaching at this year’s Forum. Meet them and get more content like this in person at the 2017 National Disciple Making Forum.
This is one of the largest gatherings of disciple makers in North America with 65+ workshops, 15+ speakers, and 10+ tracks. Join us to learn practical ways to make disciples of Jesus this November 9-10 (Thursday-Friday). Register for the 2017 National Disciple Making Forum here.
The contemporary world is asking an ancient and poetic question: “Is there healing balm in Gilead.” The person on the street is asking, and if not asking, wondering, and if not wondering, seeking, for something real, something that works, something to bind up their wounds and give them relief. And the false promise of discipleship has not delivered. They try church, they hang out with our disciples, and they have
largely concluded that, “No, there is no healing balm in the church.” The sad result is a growing number of “nones” and “dones” with “nones” referring to those people who profess no religious affiliation or belief system. “Dones” are those people who
have tried religion and are now done with it. (“Nones” are those people who profess no religious affiliation or belief system. “Dones” are those who have tried religion, and are now done with it. “America’s Changing Religious Landscape,” the Pew Research Center.) We believe the “nones” and “dones” derive greatly from the fact that the church has not delivered Christ-like disciples to the world.
The promise of discipleship—of followers of Jesus who orient their lives and energy toward learning to live and love like Him—is a wholly different paradigm. One that can deliver on hope. One that can create a true movement of discipleship in the church, even as the church we know fades away.
Rather than panicking or trying to throw better parties in Galilee, we have the exciting opportunity to rediscover, redefine, and re-create what the church is! The church as a vibrant, dynamic, life-saving body of passionate disciples who make disciples. We have an opportunity to rediscover the church as it existed in the book of Acts, when, by the power of the Holy Spirit, people were added daily to their numbers. We have the opportunity to live the great adventure of a life lived for others, with Jesus.
*Stay tuned by coming back to our blog for the next blog in this series, which will be coming soon!
This is an excerpt from the free eBook written Bill Hull and Brandon Cook of The Bonhoeffer Project. You can download the full eBook on their homepage here.
Bill Hull is a Co-Founder of The Bonhoeffer Project. Bill’s passion is to help the church return to its disciple making roots and he considers himself a discipleship evangelist. This God-given desire has manifested itself in 20 of pastoring and the authorship of many books. Two of his more important books, Jesus Christ Disciple Maker, and The Disciple Making Pastor, have both celebrated 20 years in print. Add his third in the popular trilogy, The Disciple Making Church, and you have a new paradigm for disciple making.
Brandon Cook is the lead pastor at Long Beach Christian Fellowship and a co-founder of The Bonhoeffer Project. Originally from Birmingham, Alabama, he studied at Wheaton College (IL), Jerusalem University College, Brandeis University, and The Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies. He worked as a professional storyteller before joining a transformational training organization and moving to SoCal in 2006, becoming a pastor three years later. Over the course of five years of pastoring, he became convinced that his work—and the work of the church—is to become fully committed to discipleship and making disciple-makers. The Bonhoeffer Project is for him a quest to live into the question “How are people transformed to live and love like Jesus?”