Cultivating a Life of Discipleship

What does it mean to be a disciple of Christ? How do we know if we’re getting it right? Walking through a park recently, I stared up at a beautiful, towering tree. I marveled at the beauty of God’s creation and began to wonder if this image might also be a beautiful picture of our life journey with God, a journey that provides space for us to Explore, Engage and Empower.

EXPLORE
A tall tree with weak roots will fall over at the first sign of bad weather, ripping its roots out of the ground. Our beliefs and understanding of Jesus act as the roots that keep us grounded and prepare us to weather the storms of life. If we’re honest, many of us have questions and even doubts about life and faith, and rather than shying away from those questions, we should embrace them. God welcomes our curiosity with open arms, and by freely exploring our faith, asking tough questions, and seeking the truth in Jesus’ teachings, our roots deepen and keep us anchored tightly to solid ground.

ENGAGE
At the same time, a tree might have a vast network of roots, but if its trunk is tiny and its branches are sparse, at best, it has wasted potential, and at worst, it won’t receive adequate nourishment from the sun. Belief alone is not enough. Instead, Jesus invites us not just to listen to his teachings but to follow his example of spiritual practices.

A thriving faith doesn’t just change our minds but our whole selves from the inside out. Our engagement with faith practices brings us closer to God.

EMPOWER
A tree might have strong roots and beautiful branches, but to Jesus, that is still not the end goal. He says that a good tree bears good fruit (Matthew. 7:17), and one purpose of fruit is to produce more good trees. It is wonderful for us to be deeply rooted, quickly growing disciples, but the true purpose of this growth is so that we can join with Jesus in leading others toward spiritual flourishing.

WHAT’S NEXT?
Discipleship is Jesus’ invitation for us to cultivate and experience life to the fullest. Everyone has a next step to take. Here are a few opportunities to consider within our journey.

• Explore: If you have big questions and want to explore faith – come try Alpha, and bring all of your questions!

• Engage: If you long for a tangible faith that truly makes a difference – Practicing the Way creates space to experience life-changing spiritual practices.

• Empower: If you are already growing in your beliefs and faith practices – consider mentoring or stepping out and leading a new class or group.

For you, the ground is fertile to be a ministry leader, entrepreneur and mentor who can cultivate other healthy disciples.

Keep an eye out for plenty of opportunities to experience Alpha and Practicing the Way in the coming months. If you’re curious about taking the next step into leadership, let’s talk! You can email me at cory@schweitzer.church.

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