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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Evangelism: The basics

Like the people he met two millennia ago, Christ calls us from our varied stations in life to follow him and be his disciples. And in the succeeding 2,000 years Christians have struggled with exactly how to be faithful disciples of Christ while keeping their jobs, raising families, paying taxes and being good citizens of the countries in which they live.

Exercise 1: What’s a disciple?

We use the term “discipleship” freely, but what exactly is a disciple? Draft a “job description” for a disciple, listing all appropriate duties, responsibilities, commitments, attitudes and work habits. When done, discuss:

• How is a disciple different from a follower, a believer, a seeker or a church member? 

Exercise 2: Great Commission

In Matthew 28:18-20, Jesus commands his followers to “make disciples of all nations.”

• Given the job description your group has come up with, why does this make sense?

• Is it a primary task, then, of disciples to make other disciples? (Was that on your job description?)

• Why doesn’t Jesus command us to make “church members” of all nations?

• Does your congregation seek to make church members or disciples?

• What are the specific tasks Jesus mentions for making these disciples?

• How do you teach obedience?

• At your congregation what needs to be done? 

Exercise 3: Disciple-making

• Do you consider yourself a disciple?

• Who (or what resource) taught/teaches you how to be a disciple?

• Is it something you learn all at once?

• What have you learned over the years?

• What advice would you give to someone who wants to be a disciple?

• How does your congregation encourage, inspire, nourish or teach people to be disciples?

• What could your congregation do better?

Exercise 4: The Way

Acts of the Apostles makes it clear (in 18:25-26 and elsewhere) that some of the earliest Christians called their faith simply “the Way.”

• In contrast to the way of the word, what does the Way of Christ mean?

• In what manner is Christianity still (and always) the way for humanity? For your congregation? For you?

• Looking at Acts, what risks, responsibilities and sacrifices are involved in being a disciple of the Way?

• Is that different from discipleship commonly practiced in the ELCA, in your congregation or in your life?

• What can we learn from Acts?


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