Calvary Burlington: Convictions of Discipleship
At Calvary Burlington our mission is, “Making disciples who make disciples who love God, love people and serve their world.” Making disciples doesn’t happen by way of programs or studies, but rather through convictions that inform ministries such as those. These five deeply shared convictions drive everything that we do as we seek to be effective to our calling as disciple-makers.
As you read this material, we hope you will catch a glimpse of the part you can play as we help those around us take a step to the right in their spiritual maturity.
Conviction 1: Why make disciples?
The reason we want to make disciples of Jesus Christ is because God’s goal for the whole world and the whole of human history is to glorify his beloved Son in the midst of the people he has rescued and transformed.
God is putting his plan into effect by rescuing people out of the Domain of darkness into the Kingdom of the Son by his death and resurrection. We who believe are being transformed to be like Jesus, and now have a sure and certain place around Christ’s throne in a new creation where evil and death are no more.
Conviction 2: What is a disciple?
A disciple is a forgiven sinner who is learning Christ in repentance and faith.
Disciples are Christ-learners who have first recognized the dark and lost state they were living in under God's judgment but then turned to Christ in repentance and faith, committing themselves to obeying him, to learning to keep all his commandments, and to live out their repentance and faith for the rest of their lives.
Being a disciple is both a gift and a demand. A gift because it involves an acceptance of the salvation that God has won for us through Christ, and a demand because it requires an ongoing daily commitment to living out the implications and consequences of the salvation Christ has won for us.
Pictured below, an ‘L’ (learner) represents the person who has been transferred out of darkness and into the kingdom of the Son, and who now continues that transformational learning in every sphere of life, especially in the ‘transformation learning community’ that we call ‘church’.
Conviction 3: How are disciples made?
Disciples are made by the persevering proclamation of the Word of God by the people of God in prayerful dependence on the Spirit of God.
The making of disciples is God’s work, achieved as his word and Spirit work through the activity of disciples and in the hearts of those to whom they speak.
- Proclamation of the Word in multiple ways
- Prayerful dependence on the Spirit
- People are God’s fellow workers
- Perseverance, step by step
The goal of every form of Christian ministry could, therefore, be summarized as seeking to help each person take a step to the right through the four Ps.
- Those who are very far from Christ may not have ever met or spoken with a Christian. Often the first thing they need in order to take a step to the right is to engage with a Christian.
- Others have engaged with Christians or Christianity, and their next step is to hear the gospel or to be evangelized.
- Some have responded to the gospel in faith and repentance, and their next step is to be established as a Christian.
- As Christians grow in love and knowledge, they will become increasingly concerned not only to step to the right themselves but to help others do so in whatever way they can. They will benefit from being equipped to do so through teaching, encouragement, coaching, and prayer.
Conviction 4: Who makes disciples?
Every Christian is a Christ-learner who helps others to learn Christ.
It is the joy and privilege of all God’s people to be involved in the 4Ps. Speaking the word of God to others for their salvation and encouragement is an expected and necessary component of the normal Christian life, and a healthy church culture is one in which a wide variety of word ministries are used by a constantly growing proportion of the membership.
Conviction 5: Where to make disciples
Disciples are made in every facet and activity of the transformative learning communities we call churches; and through our churches, it also happens in every corner of this present darkness.
Making and growing Christ-learners is not just something that happens with new Christians or in small groups; it is the basic activity that is at the centre of everything we do as a church. The where of making disciples is all around us, but it is the primary function of the worship service.
Diagrams and Convictions summary based on The Vine Project, Matthias Media 2016.