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Report from ELI Training - Elder Dan Krehbiel

Beginning last week, continuing today and next week, we have a chance to hear reports from the three elders who joined me in attending the Elder Leadership Institute training in Estes Park, Colorado on October 15th-18th. This week, Dan Krehbiel, Elder for Spiritual Growth, reflects upon the importance of discipleship - and discipling others:

As I flew back after attending the ELI conference on October 18th in beautiful Estes Park, Colorado, I reviewed some of the topics engaged, and the one topic which particularly convicted me was about being a disciple, and our responsibility for discipling others.

The word disciple occurs 269 times in the New Testament compared with only 3 times for the term Christian. We identify ourselves as Christian, but more specifically, we must be disciples of Jesus. Webster defines disciple as “a person who believes in and helps disseminate the teachings of a master”. Therefore, to be a Jesus disciple is to follow our master Jesus.

In Matthew 16:24, Jesus ups the anti and demands total commitment from his disciples even unto death:

If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.

Wow! That seems harsh! Bonhoeffer called this “The Cost of Discipleship.” Following our master was never intended to be easy, and this is very clear from Scripture.

So where are you in this adventure called life?

Are you a Jesus disciple or a lukewarm pretender?

Is Jesus on the throne of your life?

Are you all in with Jesus?

Now that we have reviewed what a Jesus disciple is, what is discipleship and discipling all about? Quite often we encounter believers who are very weak on exactly what their doctrine or belief is. These foundational truths are important, but some believers are unable to tell others about what being a follower of Jesus is all about.

In a nutshell, discipling is discipleship in action, where there is intentional relationship between other disciples to encourage and equip one another to become more Christ-like. What a concept! Can you imagine a determined discipling effort at Good Shepherd that is “intentional” and requires “action”?

What would happen in our fellowship here at Good Shepherd if a majority of covenant partners were nurtured to maturity through intimate, accountable relationships centered on the essentials of God’s word?

Answer: Production of self-initiating, Christ-like disciples! This is our current Mission Statement on steroids, which says “Good Shepherd exists to make disciples of Jesus Christ”!

In light of the above, we do recognize that some degree of discipling happens when Curtis or Paul preaches, in our adult education classes, and in our 30 small groups here at Good Shepherd, but the heart of discipling occurs when people work face to face and one on one. How this is to be accomplished remains to be seen, but it could be coming in some form to a fellowship near you, namely Good Shepherd. Stay tuned!

Dan Krehbiel
Elder for Spiritual Growth

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