In a recent conference, I had the opportunity to share a workshop on developing one-to-one discipleship in your church. One of the questions in the seminar that we sought to answer was What does every believer need? We discovered at least 5 helpful answers to that question, and one of the foundational answers is – a healthy understanding of their identity in the Gospel. If you’re going to live by the Gospel, you have to know how to identify yourself in Christ, get back to the Gospel when facing various situations, marinate in it, and calibrate your every step to it.
Well, the above all sounds good, but for a new follower of Jesus it sounds daunting. So, how will a young or new believer really gain a healthy understanding of a life permeated by the Gospel? They “get it” in a one-to-one relationship; by asking, watching, and relating to more mature believers. Titus 2:4,6 says to “train the younger women… and urge the younger men…”
So, the value of intentional discipleship relationships is that new and younger believers can feel safe enough to simply ask, How do you gospel you? In fact, whether they say it or not, each gathering which young believers attend (whether large or small) they are asking that very question. I think they are simply saying, “I am here, so teach me the Gospel. Show me how to love and obey Christ.”
Yet, one of our current challenges in the church today is that many people who may attend our gatherings believe the length of time they have invested in attendance = maturity in the Gospel. Therefore, what is closer to reality is that we have many young believers who have been sitting a long time. I believe that maturity in Christ is understanding how to get back to, live in, and press forward in the Gospel. So, we need to take a healthy look around our ministries and inquire to see if we have ever asked others the question, “How do you Gospel you?”
“How do you Gospel you?” And, the answer is __________________. . . . .
I know folks kind of frown on “talking to yourself” but in order to share the gospel to self some genuine conversations about yourself must be spoken in your heart to the One who created and put my heart together. Friendship is truly the key to developing ONE’s faith in God; but it is a priority to begin that relationship by accepting the Lord as your friend and study The Bible to learn how to become a true friend of God through our thoughts, words, and deeds.
Yes, I agree that a gospel friendship is no friendship at all unless it’s enriched in and centered on the person of Jesus through his Word. The emphasis of this article was more on how we share that friendship with others through discipleship and living in practical community. The Gospel (loving friendship with God) and the community (loving friendship with others) go hand in hand.
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