Here I am again in my office at home, a fan blowing on me, photos of Laina and Kysa on the wall and I am contemplating this last semester of ministry with Intervarsity Christian Fellowship and my chapter plant at Washtenaw Community College.
Ministry at a community college is full of opportunities, failures, discouragements and shining moments that seem to pass so quickly. I've learned more about patient endurance this last year as I was seeking to develop more students to be disciple makers who love Jesus and love others. It takes time working with people. They are not projects and often do not fit our prescribed expectations or agenda's when working through the sanctification process. I long to see students embrace Christ with all of their hearts, all of their thinking and all their time and resources.
So many students have good intensions, yet they are easily distracted from actually following through. We had several hundred students (there are 13,000 students at wcc) express interest about getting to know Jesus better through bible study, prayer or serving on campus - yet only 35 students followed through with varying commitments. We ended the previous semester with 26 active students. When this semester began it was difficult to have 4-5 students show up. I was eager to see the group grow, but I know patience in disciple making is key. The 4-5 students who were passionate about serving Jesus on campus faithfully came together; 4 of them were teachable and put into practice what I was teaching them about bible study, prayer, building community, using their natural networks and spiritual gifts. By the end of the semester 3 of the small group communities which had started from nothing, grew to 8-15 students in each group - each of the students being challenged in their understanding of Jesus's Identity and their own identity.
A couple of bright and shining moments for our chapter was attending Ignite - Intervarsity's Black Student Leadership Conference - in Cleveland, OH. Several of our Black students that attended came back and were excited to lead. Several of those students are now either transferring or serving in missions this next year. I am so thankful for them.
The other shining moment was at Cedar Campus for Chapter Focus Week. We were one of the only community colleges in attendance, yet our students felt right at home. It is often a struggle to convince students of the impact that a camp like this can have on their entire life. The cost is a bit intimidating $358, but we offer scholarships to cover some of the cost. However, the students who attended this year "got it." Each met Jesus in very special ways that caused them to confess addictions and struggles. The distractions were cut off. God had their attention and they were seeking Him fully. And it was amazing to see the body of Christ (Intervarsity staff) working together in whatever role and gift they were given to serve students. The exposition was phenomenal, the worship & praise led us into God's presence, people were praying, others were mentoring, teaching etc... And God moved among us setting captives free and leading students to repentance and tears.
I love my students. My heart broke with compassion for them as they shared their wounds and scars that sin had left them with; but there is healing in Christ. And that is why I love serving students with Intervarsity.
As many of you know navpress is focused on publishing resources that are aimed at discipleship and seeing people's lives transformed.
what is discipleship? how are you involved in the process of discipleship? how does your church help you in your journey to become a disciple of jesus? we'd love to hear from you! about 10 months ago
Todd JerdonHonestly, I don't think many church understand or even practice discipleship. Many churches have leaders in positions that "hold" onto their position and are fearful of losing status, power or something they love. But this should not be! Ministry is intended to be given away. I worked in youth ministry for a few years and am now going on staff with IVCF, mainly because they are passionate about discipleship too.
There are many aspects of discipleship but I will try to be brief.
In 2Tim2 Paul tells Timothy "And the things you have heard me say in the presense of many witnesses "entrust to reliable men" who will also be qualified to teach others." Many times churches just find warm and somewhat willing people to teach or be in leadership. This is not discipleship. Discipleship is intentional/nonintentional relationship with others, teaching them, encouraging them, building them up through the word, prayer and fellowship in the church. Intentional in mentor disciple relationship like Paul and Timothy. Non-intentional by the way we live our lives and people learn and are drawn to Christ through our example of Truth and Grace.
In Matthew 28, Jesus commissions all believers to go and make disciples, baptizing them and teaching them everything He has commanded his disciples. Loving God and Loving others the chief commands. But the power in it all is the gospel of Jesus Christ. Through him we have new life, eternal life and are no longer children of wrath, but children of light.
Disciples should and must follow the example of Christ, the one they are following. Endure hardship, preach the word, encourage, rebuke and train others in righteousness (2 Tim 3,4).
Overall, discipleship ministries like Nav, IV and CCfC need to partner with churches to teach them how to disciple. We are the body of Christ and need to look beyong our denominational differences to reach this ever darkening world with the light of Christ!
I love Nav Press, Life Change Series. It is one of the best resources out there for study and discipleship and small groups. The Word and depth is lacking in so many other studies.
All glory to Jesus Christ and God our Father and the Holy Spirit! about 7 months ago
MIriam Nice post, Todd. You explain the need people have for discipleship well.
As you say, I am not sure that the majority of churches "get it," because I look around and see so many lost people, and even when I talk to people IN the church they are often oblivious of the possibility of a deep, intimate relationship with Jesus Himself.
Everything they know and talk about seems to related to church rules, doctrines, and activities. No direct communication with God, no close relationship with Jesus, no everyday guidance from the Holy Spirit.
Somehow it seems people can be shortchanged in the church, and how much more, people outside the church. about 6 months ago
Kevin I truly agree. Of all the bible study groups in church rarely is the term Disciple taught or mentioned. Like you said, people in the church don't want to be equal, teachers want to stay above, so they hold their position and wouldn't teach another to be his or her equivalent so they too can teach. What Disciples do, and how they live is truly different from how others who attend church, hear whats being taught, memorize it and then go about their secular lives as if that is enough. Disciples are "doers of the word" thats why I love the verse stated in James 1:22 "do not merely listen to the word and deceive yourselves, do what it says."
DISCIPLESHIP is truly lacking and heavily needed in this world. Thank you Todd for your post. 22 hours ago Todd Jerdon Thank you MIriam& Kevin for your responses.
I had forgotten about this post. Since the last post, God has given me greater opportunity to disciple college students where we can put into practice the words of Jesus, "Go and make disciples of all nations.. Matthew 28:18.
I'm wondering... "What if..." as disciples of Jesus, we cleared our schedules at churches and in our families and "devoted" ourselves to the reading and study of scripture, to prayer and to fellowship. (Acts 2:42-48) Not programed meetings or big events... but just coming together daily in love for God and for others. Does someone have a need? Then we assist them. Is someone low in spirit? Then lift them up...Isaiah 58. Would we not see such a move of God's Spirit?
"What if..." we were honest and transparent with God and other believers and confessed, "Hey friend I don't have it all together and I am a slave to_________, let's pray and ask the Lord Jesus to help us in our time of need and I'll do the same for you. "What if.." we confessed our sins and called on the name of Jesus? He's the one who sent his Spirit to do his work. Yet we (the church) tend to act as if it all depends on us.
There is a song by the group Leeland. "Love is on the move, revealing heavens truth. Love is on the way and it will find you." What comfort, what hope this would offer a person broken and under the bondage of sin. What relief, what great salvation to know that our God has provided the way, the truth and the life in Jesus Christ - that He pursues us! O the Love of God in Christ Jesus! :) 20 hours ago ·
MIriam Hi Todd, I had forgotten about this post too! I said: "What?! I wrote that?" :-)
One thing I am concerned about is that, in our religiosity, we may not be true disciples of Christ, maybe of someone or something else, but not Christ and at the end He may say "Depart from me. I know you not."
It is vital that we develop a discipleship relationship with God, no matter how great our pastor, or how big and popular our church.
Right? 19 hours ago
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