Learning to Be Disciples
If you have been a part of our church family for a little while, you know that we have been concerned with what it means to follow Jesus more deeply. We actually believe that Jesus desires something so much deeper than people who simply believe the right things but don’t live them. We believe that there is something radically different that defines the people of God!
The past few years, our Mission Statement has been a guiding light as to what we believe God wants Foothills Church to be:
“Foothills Church exists to glorify God BY making disciples: unconditionally accepting people where they are while encouraging a transforming life in Christ.”
We are obedient to and glorify God when we are making disciples (Matthew 28:28-20). Notice that we are not called to build a church, programs, or events. We build people into disciples. Jesus is the One to build the Church, and He is faithful to do so (Matthew 16:18). The focus of each man and woman at Foothills Church is to build people to become disciples. This includes taking ownership of your own discipleship, too.
Here is how we define what a disciple of Jesus Christ actually is:
DEFINING A DISCIPLE OF JESUS CHRIST
A disciple is someone who is actively learning from Jesus in all areas of life. They are increasingly submitting all of life to the Lordship and empowering presence of Jesus Christ. They are actively engaged in committed relationships where they are regularly asking and responding to the two core questions of discipleship:
What is Jesus saying?
What am I doing in response?
A disciple is one who, worships Jesus, is being changed by Jesus, obeys Jesus, and teaches others to do the same.
Disciple = Learner from Jesus
So, how do we begin leaning into Christ as disciples?
We believe that a Christ-centered life of discipleship is best learned and lived in 5 areas that we call our CORE Values:
“Christ-Oriented Rhythms Everyday”
The values below represent Foothills Church’s highest priorities. These values are the guiding principles that dictate our behavior and action. They form the foundation for how we will go about achieving our Mission and Vision, and how we will learn to embody our key objectives.
Intimacy with God (“I am loved.”) This is an invitation to see and experience every moment as a gift of God: to live life in union with the Trinity and develop a continual awareness of God’s presence in you.
Biblically Grounded (“I a part of a bigger story.”) This is to know what the Bible says and how it interacts with my life through regular Bible study. It is to prayerfully encounter and surrender to the living God through devotional reading and more deeply gaze on God in His Word through meditation.
Living in Community (“I am part of a family.”) This means that we are to be a people in relationship with the God who saves us, and a people in relationship with each other who share salvation together.
Missional Lifestyle (“I am sent.”) This is an invitation to go into the cultures and nations of the earth and to live sacrificially for the good of others. Mission is God’s activity of love towards the world. To be a follower of Jesus means that you too are called to be a missionary.
Growing in Maturity (“I am being changed to look more like Jesus.”) This is about being transformed. God’s intention from the very beginning was to dispense His life into human beings so that we would become His real sons and daughters. He wants us to live by His life and express it visibly. In so doing, we image God’s nature. Paul tells us in Romans 8:29 that we are called to conform to the image of God’s Son.
Together as a church, we will intentionally focus on one CORE Value a month (CORE Value Focus) through a variety of methods: Studying scripture, memorizing verses, practicing prayer, worship, and fellowshipping in ways that help us discover more about this area in our life. We believe it will be wonderfully unifying, both with Christ and one another!
Practically, this is discussing the CORE Value Focus together in LifeGroups each week. Sermon discussion questions will still be provided, but the CORE Value discussions will now be an additional part of the discussion. There will be included a church-wide focus verse that will also help shape our understanding of our identity as disciples. Each week at the LifeGroup gatherings, there will also be provided a Spiritual Disciple that will aid in cultivating and nurturing the CORE Value in your daily walk with Christ.
When we practice Spiritual Disciplines, we are not trying to control or manipulate God. Rather, we are intentionally positioning our heart and soul to receive the life of the Spirit that He offers in Christ. One might imagine it like trimming the sails of a boat, positioning the sail to catch the wind of the Spirit in order to move us forward in the direction He wants us to go.