Content, community and consecration.
Acts 2:42 reveals to us 3 vital elements of disciple-making: Content (‘apostles’ teaching’), Community (‘they’, ‘fellowship’), and Consecration (‘breaking of bread’ and ‘prayers’).
In line with current Western education system, the disciple-making practices place a heavy emphasis on content and programme. Indeed if you scour those online and on-site Christian bookstores, you will find that there is no shortage of content. In today’s world, Christians are truly blessed with tons and tons of content, and we ought to thank God for that because content, particularly the teaching of God’s Word, is an important tool that can help us grow spiritually. One can consume lots of content and yet not grow to Christlikeness. Think: how many smokers do you think are actually frightened or put off by the warning messages and scare pictures they see on the cigarette boxes?
Finally, we come with a posture of humility and live a life of utter surrender in order for us to submit fully to the authority of a holy God.
As in Acts 2:42-47, two other elements must be included in order for true spiritual growth to take place; community and consecration. Community is needed to spur one another on for life change and growth. Through a community one is able to keep each other accountable, and encourage one another to stay on track to achieve one’s God-given goals. In addition, a community is able to establish a conducive ecosytem for spiritual interaction and growth. It is like individual runners who intentionally join a running group to train so that they are able to achieve a satisfying result in a marathon race.
Still, having the two components of content and community, vital as they are, do not grow a disciple totally. A third and vital component is needed: consecration. Consecration is setting oneself apart for God’s use and glory. This means that as we desire to change, we allow the Holy Spirit to break in and touch us. This, in turn, causes us to experience a spiritual breakthrough in our lives, thus transforming us to Christlikeness.
So, all 3 elements are needed in disciple-making or training. First, we must feed people with the truth of God’s Word, then teach them to feed themselves and hunger for God’s Word. Second, we engage the people within a like-minded community such as a cell group for the purposes of accountability and encouragement. Finally, we come with a posture of humility and live a life of utter surrender in order for us to submit fully to the authority of a holy God. Content, community and consecration. As a disciple, which part of your life do you lack the most? What will you do about it? Shalom.
By Ps Simon Say