Discipleship Spaghetti

A Community Group is like spaghetti. Huh?

Each person is a noodle, a life with twists and turns and messiness (or sauciness!). Pile all those noodles together and you find a big tangled plate of spaghetti.

A Christian's life is linked with Jesus and with other Christians in community. His grace and mercy affects all of the lives in that group. Each individual life now has a context that helps to put it in perspective and... with patience, straighten it out a bit. The joy and excitement of a Community Group comes from people sharing the way that the gospel changes them.

My picture of God's mercy expands every time I hear someone else's story of Jesus and how they have been changed. My appreciation of grace and God's patience deepens every time I hear about people's struggles and dependence. Left to myself, my perspective is small; but in a community I can see a bigger God, more powerful transformation, clarity of Scripture and humble reliance on grace.

Jesus wants his disciples to follow him together so that they can encourage each other on their life-long walk. That is one of the main reasons that Community Groups are so important at Grace Church. They truly are the best context for rich discipleship. Everything that a good group does -- worship, study, fellowship, service -- is a means of following Jesus with others. Each person helps and each person is helped.

Two questions: What ways do Community Groups help you to follow Jesus?
And... what do the meatballs represent?


Church Membership is a Key Path of Discipleship

A powerful aspect of discipleship is commitment to a local church body. The New Testament churches were filled with people who deliberately joined their midst. Those committed Christians were overseen by equally committed local leaders (pastors/ teachers/ elders/ shepherds).

Church membership is a foundation for a life of intentional relationships centered on Jesus. Devotion to one another inside a church, combined witha give-and-take devotion to careful leaders, provides a relational context for the Christian life.

In an era where it's assumed that people are autonomous, where it's easy to cut and run whenever things get tense or difficult, where conflicts are rarely dealt with honestly... church membership is a sign of the profound work of grace in a Christian's life.

This Sunday, a great group of people will publicly commit to vows of church membership. They are revolutionaries of committed grace-filled relationships.

From our Seven Pathways of Discipleship:
"Discipleship is facilitated at Grace Silicon Valley through membership, worship services, community groups, prayer, service opportunities, Christian education, and deliberate relationships.

1) Through Membership. This is the most basic way for the leaders of the church to know you and fulfill their call to equip and encourage you. Take advantage of this opportunity to be in relationship with the leaders by communicating with them."