Bible Moment: Discipleship in Church

Bible Passage

Take Moment to Ponder

Discipleship is not so much a programme in the local Church for which persons are invited or encouraged to sign up, but rather, the culture of the Church where every member seeks, in a deliberate way, to assist each other to become more like Christ.  Discipleship should ripple through the entire Church.

The Church’s motherly, nurturing role as disciple is crucial.  Indeed, the Church is the institution of discipleship.  “We are enrolled in her school in Baptism, educated in her WORD by her pastors and teachers, fed at her table in the weekly COVENANT RENEWAL SERVICE.” There is no other way to enter life unless the church as a mother conceives us in her work, gives us birth, nourishes us in her heart and keeps us under her care.

In the text to guide our study, we see St. Paul’s intentional and deliberate motive to equip the Thessalonian Church to be solid, faithful disciples so that they could, in turn, disciple others.  He holds up his example as a model for the new believers to follow and invites everyone’s involvement in the process of making other disciples. 

Paul’s witness among the Thessalonians was effective (2: 1).  It was based on his bold proclamation of the truth of the Gospel (2: 2).  The important motive undergirding and inspiring this testimony is that Paul yearned to please God (2: 3–4).  It was his desire that others please and glorify God (2: 8–12), and in the process, become active participants in the building of the Kingdom of God.  This is the mission of the Church…to disciple for the building of The Kingdom. 

This is precisely the point the Very Rev. Canon Professor Martyn Perry made when, speaking on the Role of the Church in discipleship he said, “Discipleship in the Church is towards the building of the Kingdom of God, in families, in communities, and in the workplace.”[1]

From the 1 Thessalonians 2: 1-12 reading and the commentary, we can identify the character traits below, that are positive and necessary to promote Discipleship.

Courage/boldness (2: 2)
Humility (2: 4)
Honesty (2: 5)
Gentleness (2: 7)
Sincerity/openness (2: 8)
Love (2: 8)
Faithfulness (2:1 0, 2: 12)

Practical Action (Thoughts for Application)

Consider the following:

  • How do you foster a climate of hospitality in your church?
  • How do you, as an individual, help your congregation to create a welcomingand inclusive environment for persons of all ages, gender, ethnicity, abilities, etc.?
  • How can you engage children, youth, and young adults in the life of your Church and value their contributions?
  • How can you provide a worshipping environment that is sensitive, stirring and grounded in sound teaching?

Closing Prayer

O Lord, our God, You have commanded us to be as perfect as You, God are perfect: graft into our hearts, we pray, a continual desire to obey Your will. Lead us and teach us day by day what You would have us to do, and give us courage, strength, gentleness and forbearance to fulfil the same. May we never, for love of ease, decline the path set before us, nor for the fear of shame, turn away from it. We ask these for the honour and glory of Jesus Christ our Saviour.   Amen.

[1] Intentional Discipleship 1st Anniversary Service, St. George’s, Kingston, Jamaica, December 2018

EXCERPT from: Intentional Discipleship Bible Study 2019 Week 1