There are two words in church life that, if not well-defined, can create confusion even among people who have grown up in church. The first word is evangelism. Evangelism is sharing the gospel with someone in word and deed. There are many different approaches and methods to evangelism, many of which end when a person says a prayer to embrace the cross and through faith and repentance surrender themselves to following Jesus. But if we are going to be truly obedient to the Great Commission, evangelism in this sense is not complete until the person who has received Christ is gathered in a church and is participating in spiritual formation called discipleship. After all, Jesus said, “Go and make disciples (not converts) of the nations.” So evangelism is not complete until discipleship begins to take place.
But again, if we are going to be obedient to the Great Commission, then discipleship is not complete until the disciple is actively involved in making disciples. Jesus called the first twelve disciples and told them that they would become “fishers of men.” The goal of discipleship, therefore, is to produce disciples that produce disciples by investing themselves in others the way Jesus did. It might sound a little confusing because we have created a church culture that says accept Jesus and go to church.
Here at Parkview, we take the Great Commandment (to love others) and the Great Commission (to make disciples) seriously. We worship our Creator on Sundays and are strengthened to do the work He calls us to do. We build relationships in our Life Groups. We cannot program friendships or relationships, but we can create an atmosphere where relationships that form naturally can flourish. Parkview’s mission statement contains three words—believe, belong, and become. Worship and Life Groups help us cultivate the believe and belong aspects of our mission.
We are ready to take discipleship to the next level with something that we think will help those who wish to do so move deeper in their walk with Christ—to become what Christ intends us to become, disciples who make disciples. For two Sunday nights in September, we are going to be talking about discipleship using a term D-Groups. D-Groups are groups of four to five people who meet together weekly to encourage each other in spiritual formation.
This D-Group training is open to everyone who would like to know more about possibly being involved in a group like this or even leading one. The D-Group training will take place in the Student Café from 6:00 – 7:00pm (in conjunction with the Sunday Evening Worship Service.) The staff will take turns sharing the principles of D-Groups from Robby Gallaty’s book called Growing Up. This book will be instrumental in starting new D-Groups at Parkview. I hope you will prayerfully consider taking your spiritual formation to the next level with D-Groups.