By: Alan Hirsch We are continuing in our series of blogs designed to translate the six elements of mDNA into the necessary competencies needed to reframe a church as movement. Last month we looked at the mDNA of Jesus is Lord and saw that the key competency is to declare our identity as people who claim Jesus as Lord. Over the coming month we will focus on the issue of mDNA of discipleship and the core competency of disciple-making.
The singular most important reason why discipleship is critical and necessary in the life of movements is that it the means by which Jesus actually gets to life in and through the body of his people. At the very core, discipleship is the lifelong task of becoming more and more and more like Jesus, as well as Jesus living more and more and more his life in and through me.
On the one side is what we have called the imitation of Christ whereby we pattern our lives upon the perfectly holy humanity we see exemplified in our Lord Jesus. Through our devoted modeling on Jesus are being transformed into the image of God in Jesus Christ. So much so that discipleship can be defined as doing the same kind of things that Jesus did for the same reasons that he did them.
The other side of the discipleship equation is what has been called variously as “union with Christ”, “abiding in Christ” or participation. This goes to the very heart of the salvation of the believer and their union with God in and through Jesus. Jesus wants to live his life in and through us, and if churches don’t take discipleship with the utmost seriousness and prioritize it, then the dynamic connection and living relationship that the church and the believer have with their Lord comes under serious threat.
We so easily forget that the role of the church is to form what we call “little Jesuses.” C. S. Lewis rightly reminds us of this fact.
It is easy to think that the Church has a lot of different objects—education, buildings, missions, holding services. . . . [But] the Church exists for nothing else but to draw men into Christ, to make them into little Christs. If they are not doing that, all the cathedrals, clergy, missions, sermons, even the Bible itself, are simply a waste of time. God became man for no other purpose. It is even doubtful, you know, whether the whole universe was created for any other purpose. It says in the Bible that the whole universe was made for Christ and that everything is to be gathered together in Him. (Mere Christianity)
Movements take discipleship seriously because they take Jesus seriously. It is interesting to note that Jesus never directly commands that we worship him…but he does call us to obey him as Lord. Obedience is the worship that the true disciple renders to Jesus.