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Starting New Things – Disciples in Relation to God

Starting New Things – Disciples in Relation to God

Being a disciple of Jesus is doing what Jesus did and what Jesus did was primarily driven by three relationships, with his Father, with his disciples and with the world. Jesus first relationship was with his Father. A curious thing that Jesus, fully human and fully God should have a relationship with God. However, as we discussed in an earlier post, God is a community with internal relationships within God’s self.

We know that Jesus referred to his relationship with the Father a lot through the gospels. In fact he referred to God as ‘my father’, or ‘the father’ in relation to himself more than 130 times. Jesus went away to pray, he prayed to his Father with his disciples present. He said his Father had revealed things to him, that he only did what he saw his Father doing. At the end of Jesus own life, first in Gethsemane and the on the cross, he spoke initmately to God as his Father.

Jesus encouraged his disciples to have the same relationship with God. In the gospels he refers to God as, ‘your father’, over 40 times and when he teaches the disciples to pray, the prayer starts with, ‘Our Father’. Jesus demonstrates and teaches, throughout the gospels, how to pray both publicly and privately and expects his disciples to do the same. After Jesus dies and rises and ascends, the disciples continue to worship God publicly and privately.

When we are starting something new or when we are considering how to help discipleship in existing structures, providing the opportunity for people to have a relationship with God is fundamental. We can do this in numerous ways. Providing an opportunity to come together in worship, such as in a service. Providing the opportunity to pray together in a prayer meeting. Encouraging people in small groups to pray, having prayer chains or prayer triplets and helping them develop a personal prayer life. The more ways and the wider variety of styles we can facilitate for people to worship and pray together and on their own, the richer their relationship with God will be.

Our relationship with God, as disciples, is the centre. From it flows God and me and other disciples, and God and me and the world. It is how we inhabit the image of God that God created us to have and it is how we engage with the trinity of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Our relationship with God is the source and ground of our being and the purpose of our existence. Engaging in a relationship with God is step one on our discipleship.

For encouragement: Jesus reveals the Father to us and when we turn to him he fills us with the Holy Spirit to the full measure of God, Eph 3:19. God is not far off.

To think about: How many different ways does your existing church community or your new thing encourage people in their relationship with God?

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For more posts in this series click here

If you want to talk about Starting Something New, or church growth, or mission in general do get in touch