Following Jesus: Purpose

 

Purpose

Here you will learn how to help other believers develop a lifestyle of understanding and obeying the Bible – God’s Word. Helping to train other believers is the best way for you to ensure your own spiritual growth. This material is designed to help train you to follow Jesus with confidence and then, confidently train others to do the same.

Audience

This material was developed in the context of a mostly African-American congregation in a Boston neighborhood. It is informed by the history of African-Americans in the United States in general and in urban settings in particular. My intention is, first and foremost, that it will encourage and strengthen the ministry of African-Americans following Jesus in an urban context. I am confident that, by God’s grace, it will encourage and strengthen people from many other backgrounds and in many other contexts as well.


Goals

This training has the following goals:

Knowledge & Skills

  1. You will understand God’s agenda and how to align with it.
  2. You will understand the Gospel, God’s Kingdom, what it means to follow Jesus, and how to explain each of these to others.
  3. You will learn how to be an overcomer and live a life of victory in Christ.
  4. You will understand how to consistently connect with a small group of believers for deep fellowship, prayer, and accountability.
  5. You will understand what your sphere of influence is and how to bless people and represent God’s Kingdom within it.
  6. You will understand how to do outreach by regularly bringing new unchurched people into your sphere of influence.
  7. You will understand how to evangelize by being a Kingdom influence on people in all five stages of unbelief.
  8. You will understand how to lead seekers into a life of following Jesus and how to disciple them.
  9. You will understand how to help disciples discover their own ministries.

Lifestyle

  1. You will become more and more like Jesus.
  2. You will establish a lifestyle of representing God’s Kingdom within your sphere of influence.
  3. You will establish a lifestyle of outreach, evangelism, discipleship, and ministry development.

Challenges

  1. You will be able to handle an environment in which people are skeptical about Christianity.
  2. You’ll be able to handle questions about historical issues like slavery, colonialism, missionary misdeeds, etc.
  3. You will be able to handle questions raised by alternative religions in your environment (e.g. Jehovah’s Witnesses, Nation of Islam, Five Percenters, New Age, etc.).
  4. You will be able to handle questions arising from science and technology, politics, public policy, social science, economics, capitalism, communism, socialism, etc.
  5. You will be able to handle questions related to racism, sexism, feminism, homophobia, patriotism, nationalism, etc.
  6. You will be able to handle the fallout from failures and scandals among Christian ministries.

Expectations

  1. This will not happen overnight, but it won’t take forever either. Expect it to take about 3 years.
  2. The Gospel of Matthew will be a skeleton from which you can hang various Kingdom concepts.
  3. You will use the Gospel of Matthew and the Book of Acts as a basic framework for both understanding how to follow Jesus and for instructing others.

Habits and Ministries

As your disciple works his/her way through our “Following Jesus” discipleship curriculum you will help him/her to:

  1. Develop godly habits (e.g. praying, reading the Bible, fellowship, etc.)
  2. Turn godly habits into skills.
  3. Turn godly habits and skills into his/her ministry.

Assignments

Most, if not all, of the lessons on this page include a section titled “Training assignment” appearing as follows:

Training assignment (do this yourself, and use it to help train someone else):

They are designed to assist you with training others. Use the assignments to guide the people you’re discipling into a deeper understanding of God’s Kingdom and the life of following Jesus. This will typically involve the following:

  • Listen to God.
    • Set aside a daily time to spend with God when you won’t be disturbed.
    • Use this time to pray. Ask your discipler to teach you how if necessary.
    • Keep a notebook that you can use to write down what the Lord says to you during this and other times.
    • Review what God says to you with the person who is discipling you.
  • Read some Bible passages.
  • Watch some videos.
  • Discuss answers to some relevant questions.
    The discussion is an important part of the growth process. The relevant questions will often include the following:
    Standard Discussion Questions:

    • What did this passage teach you about God (Father, Son, Holy Spirit)?
    • What did this passage teach you about people?
    • In what ways does this passage apply to your own life?
    • How are you measuring up to what God is requiring of you?
    • How can we help you in this area?

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