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"Lifelong Discipleship Formation"

Lesson for 1st Sunday after Epiphany, January 9th, 2022

Lifelong Discipleship Formation vs. complacent “Religious” piety; simply teaching good morals, or offering the latest programs

Lifelong Discipleship Formation is about daily life. It’s about how we claim and proclaim our identity as followers of Christ. It’s about how we practice our faith; how we grow in faith, cherish faith, and share faith in the world. Beyond mere words, how do people know we are disciples of Jesus Christ? No matter the age, it’s about daily seeking and living in a relationship with the living God. We are called to be righteous, to seek justice, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with God. Thus, Lifelong Discipleship Formation is about how we live into that right relationship with God, with all God’s people, and all of creation. It’s about growing in the community of God’s grace, the church, and interpreting faith in our everyday life; confronting brokenness and sinfulness when we fall short of the glory of God and shining a bold light of Christ for all to see. Lifelong Discipleship Formation requires an awakened and engaged commitment to God, and to all people whom Christ loves. It is about the call to daily take up our cross and follow Christ.

A. Biblical References: Acts 2:42–47; Luke 8:11–18; Philippians 3:9b; Romans 8:1–17;

Matthew 5:1–16; Deuteronomy 11:13–21

B. Objectives:

  • An intentional plan for discipleship formation of all ages; from the cradle to the grave theology (including, but not limited to, family systems and intergenerational discipleship where applicable).

  • A regular practice of Bible Study, prayer, and other spiritual habits, inside and outside where we gather

  • Church teaches rituals and faith traditions, biblical literacy, and spiritual practices to all members.

  • Church equips and empowers all people to interpret faith in daily life. It engages in, not hides from, difficult conversations of society and cultures today. (i.e., sexism, racism, classism, ageism, and all other “isms” that divide).

  • Fostered environments of diversity that help enhance and deeply enrich Biblical study, worship, and communal life.

C. Potential Outcomes:

  • People learn to think critically and interpret Scripture in their daily lives. They have the biblical literacy and the faith language to engage in necessary conversations.

  • They practice a living relationship, to a living God, responding to the call to follow as true disciples of Jesus Christ.

  • Move beyond committee meetings and program attendance, and identity in Christ becomes central to life.

  • A genuine sense of joy, energy, commitment, and passion to being the community of God.

  • People “outside the church” glean a new understanding of what it is to follow Christ and be the church.

  • The church begins to transcend culture and be about God’s work of reconciliation, love, and peace.

D. Reflection Questions:

  • Does Christian formation in your church lead people to change the way they live? (i.e. schedule time, spend money, give resources, see different people, serve, spend time with family, have conversations with friends)

  • Are people of all ages being challenged in assumptions, growing in understanding, and learning the language of faith?

  • Does the study of scripture influence the mission and ministry of your church?

  • Are faithful habits being translated to daily living?

  • Does the Word of God permeate all aspects of life together? Name some examples.

  • Do all people feel welcome to share their voice, opinion, story without judgment or fear?

  • What difficult conversations of faith and culture does your congregation need to have together? Whose voices are missing from the conversation to take place?

  • As a disciple, what uncomfortable things do you need to let go of, truths do you need to be aware of, places you are afraid to follow, things you are afraid God might call you to do? (i.e. injustice, oppression, hatred, evils, suffering, inequalities to confront).

  • How can faithful discipleship become our daily identity instead of just religious piety? How do others know we are disciples of Jesus Christ?

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