Four pillars of disciple making (Part 3)

Disciple making communities

One of the most effective places where disciple making happens is within a small group. Nobody was created to live life on your own and a huge part of the success of your life depends on whether you are serving the Lord from within a community. The reason for this in the first place is that man is a being intended for relationship and relationship can only take place and be repaired within a relationship.  You can only learn to swim inside a swimming pool.

In the existence of a living organism, there are two important factors that will determine the health and future of the organism. These two factors are atmosphere and nourishment. A goldfish’s atmosphere is the water and his nourishment is the food that is put into the water.  These must never be two opposing factors, but the one is more important than the other.  A goldfish can survive for days without food, but only 15 minutes outside the water will cause its death.  Therefore you can survive longer without nourishment than without atmosphere.  Atmosphere is a more determining factor than food!

In our disciple making efforts we have it the wrong way around. We feed and feed and overfeed each and every believer until they are obese, but we give no attention to their atmosphere!  Also, the feeding for Christians is not to listen to sermons but to get firsthand information from the Father by sitting at His feet.  A lot of preached Word is given through, but firsthand Word discovered directly from the Father is very scarce. The atmosphere of the fish is the water and the atmosphere of the bird is the air, but the atmosphere of the human being is relationship.  We are the product of relationship, born from relationship, we have to be brought up in relationship and we can only grow if we stand in relationship.  The atmosphere of man is not offices, lecture rooms or auditoriums!  The heart and actions of man can only grow where it stands in relationship to other hearts.  If you have no more friends with whom you can share your heart and life, you will become unhealthy in yourself and you will pine away spiritually.

What happens in the group which is a determining dynamic in disciple making?

  • The group takes away the feeling of loneliness.
  • It is a space where people can influence each other through trusting relationships.
  • Life can only be preserved within a group.  Where two or more shares and hands out the life of Jesus we have a faith community.
  • Inside the group we get emotional support and nourishment if needed.
  • In the group people love one another and practices the texts relating thereto.
  • If you are at a low point in your life, the group carries you.
  • In the group you will find other people with the same problems and we can learn from each other.
  • There are people who have already learnt things that you do not even know about and you do not have to discover everything from scratch.
  • People in the group give support and encouragement.
  • In the group I learn to stop blame-shifting and to take up my responsibilities.
  • In the group I make commitments to study the Word together.
  • Each person accounts to the group about his steps of obedience in his life.
  • In the group you learn to be open and transparent and to talk from your heart
  • In the group we learn to live more balanced and not to run away with over emphasis.
  • In the group we learn to live life, obey God and to quit talking all day long about our problems and theologies.
  • In the group we learn to lay down our lives for others and not to live only for ourselves.

We need one another to grow spiritually and emotionally, to discover God’s will and to become and live like Jesus (Acts 2:42-47).  Determining relationships in our lives develop in a smaller group and are essential to become a disciple of Christ. Disciple making communities are therefore an unquestionable element in the disciple making process as well as in our calling to mobilize the body of Christ to realize the Kingdom of God.

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