We can be honest in church, right?
I want to take a moment to share a bit about the heartbeat behind the disciple-making framework we use at Bethany (Connecting daily with Jesus [Up], journey closely with others [With], and serving & blessing [Out]), as I understand it.
I want to do this because I have heard some misconceptions out there that might be helpful to address.
1. The first is that it seems “legalistic,” and inadvertently saying you can do either the “With,” or “Out” apart from connecting “Up” with Jesus.
2. The second is that it is “simplistic,” or “basic,” it’s helpful for new Christians, but not mature believers.
Discussing the misconceptions:
1. In terms of the framework seeming “legalistic,” or the idea that the framework is suggesting that we can pull ourselves up by our own bootstraps and pursue the challenges we are given in the “With,” or “Out” category apart from Jesus, is to miss the beauty of the framework.
This diagram is a Venn diagram, with the sweet spot right in the centre; the place where connecting daily with Jesus, journeying closely with others, and serving & blessing on a regular basis come together harmoniously. To seek to journey with others, or to serve, without being connected to Jesus, apart from the Spirit, is to do so in vain. So, when a challenge is presented to take a step of faith in the “With” or “Out” category the assumption being made is that it is not the challenge, or question, which is prompting you to take a particular action, but instead is the catalyst for you to articulate what Jesus is already calling you to do, as you connect daily with Him.
Afterall, this framework isn’t something new, it’s simply a depiction of the life that Jesus has called us into, empowers us to live, and encourages us to take our next steps of faith in.
2. In terms of it being “simple,” or “basic,” that is absolutely accurate. The guiding principles are extremely easy to understand. Where the complexity and challenge is found, is in seeking to live them out in our day-to-day lives. Connecting daily with Jesus (Up), journey closely with others (With), and serving & blessing (Out) is not so much about an arrival but a journey. Whether we have been following Jesus for a day, or twenty-five years, Jesus is always asking us to take another step, to move into a place of discomfort, so that we can both experience, and participate in, the renewal Jesus is creating within our own hearts, and the world we live in.
To say, “this is basic,” and “as we mature, we must move on from these questions,” is to miss the opportunity to be surprised by the always richer, ever deepening, relationship Jesus is inviting us to experience, and share with those around us.
So, is this framework some sort of silver bullet for the life of faith? No, it’s just a common language and framework to help us speak about, and journey more deeply into the life of faith Jesus is calling us into, together.